Healthy eating among adults


Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • 55.4% of adults aged 16 and over had 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (‘5 a day’) in 2019/20

  • white British adults were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to eat 5 a day, with 56.5% doing so

  • the percentage of adults in the black, Asian, Chinese, and mixed ethnic groups who ate 5 a day was lower than the national average

  • the percentage of white British adults and adults with any other white background eating ‘5 a day’ in 2019/20 was higher than the previous year

  • for other ethnic groups, too few adults responded to the survey or the responses were too varied to make reliable generalisations about changes over time

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

This data shows the percentage of people aged 16 and older in England who ate 5 portions of fruit and vegetables on a usual day (‘5 a day’).

Figures have been rounded to 1 decimal point in the charts and tables.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Estimates are shown for 7 aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • black
  • Chinese
  • mixed
  • white British
  • any other white background
  • 'other'


Read the detailed methodology document (PDF opens in a new window or tab) for the data on this page.

It is unlikely that everyone who completed the survey responded accurately. This may be because of factors such as people being unable to accurately recall what they ate.

Fruit and vegetable consumption is also measured by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and the Health Survey for England. The Active Lives Survey overestimates the percentage of people eating 5 a day compared with findings from these other surveys.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about interpreting survey data, including how reliability is affected by the number of people surveyed.

Data has been weighted to ONS population measures for geography and key demographics. Read more about how weighting is used to make survey data more representative of the group being studied.

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • unrounded estimates
  • confidence intervals – read more about how we use confidence intervals to judge how reliable estimates are

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of adults aged 16 years and over eating ‘5 a day’, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
% % % % %
All 56.8 57.4 54.8 54.4 55.4
Asian 47.5 48.9 47.0 45.8 47.2
Black 46.4 45.7 44.2 43.4 45.7
Chinese 57.2 51.1 50.3 50.0 52.1
Mixed 53.3 56.0 50.7 52.0 53.9
White British 57.9 58.4 55.9 55.6 56.5
White other 58.3 58.3 54.5 55.0 56.3
Other 59.7 57.1 54.7 56.2 57.9

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics


Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Note on corrections or updates

Edited frequency of publication

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The Active Lives Survey measures the number of people aged 16 and over who take part in sport and physical activity.

This data informs the government’s strategy on physical activity, Sporting Future, which looks at 5 aspects of physical activity:

  • physical well-being
  • mental well-being
  • individual development
  • social and community development
  • economic development

The Active Lives Adults survey has previously been published twice a year – in April, which covered the full year November to November period, and in October, which covered the mid-year May to May period. Following an external consultation in early 2022, results are now only being published annually each April. Read more information about publications:

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics


Public Health England

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

The Public Health Outcomes Framework examines indicators that help government, health researchers and practitioners, understand trends in public health.

5. Download the data

Healthy Eating Among Adults - Spreadsheet (csv) 12 KB

Measure, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_Type, Time, Time_Type, Geography, Geography_Type, Geography_Code, Gender, Age, Value, Value_Type, Denominator, Confidence Intervals