Dietary intake in Black British adults; an observational assessment of nutritional composition and the role of traditional foods in UK Caribbean and West African diets

Public Health Nutr. 2015 Aug;18(12):2191-201. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014002584. Epub 2014 Nov 21.


Objective: Acculturation to the UK diet may contribute to the increased burden of non-communicable diseases in Black British communities. The present study aimed to assess nutritional composition and the contribution that traditional foods make to dietary intake in a group of UK-residing Caribbean and West African adults and to explore differences according to ethnicity and duration of residence.

Design: Observational study. Dietary intake was assessed using multiple, standardised triple-pass 24 h recalls and analysed using a nutritional composition database. Associations between sociodemographic variables and duration of residence with dietary intake were assessed using ANCOVA.

Setting: London, UK, October 2011-December 2012.

Subjects: UK adults of Caribbean (n 50) or West African (n 83) ancestry, aged 18-75 years.

Results: The Caribbean participants were older and more likely to be born in the UK. After adjusting for age, sex and ethnicity, those who had been resident in the UK for the longest duration had significantly higher intakes of energy (P<0·001), fat (P=0·002) and Na (P=0·03). The West African participants sourced significantly more energy (P=0·04), fat (P=0·02), saturated fat (P=0·02) and Na (P=0·001) from traditional cultural foods compared with the Caribbean diet, which was more reliant on 'Westernised' foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages.

Conclusions: These results are novel in demonstrating dietary acculturation in UK adults of Caribbean and West African ancestry. We have provided detailed data regarding the role of traditional foods, presenting dietary information that may guide in individualising care for patients from these communities and improve the cultural sensitivity of public health strategies.

Keywords: African; Caribbean; Culture; Diet; Dietary acculturation; Ethnicity; Food consumption; Nutrient.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Aged
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Energy Intake*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Female
  • Food Quality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fats