Between late 2005 and April 2007, the Dietary Survey Unit of the French Food Safety Agency (Afssa) conducted the second individual and national food consumption survey (INCA 2). This study followed the first INCA study, conducted in 1998–1999.
INCA 2 involved 2,624 adults (18–79 years old) and 1,455 children (3–17 years old). The participants recorded their food and supplement intake over seven days, answered a questionnaire to evaluate their physical activity level, sedentary behavior, and their food supplement consumption over the past 12 months.
Thus, the INCA 2 study results provide a very detailed food consumption database on an individual level on people living in mainland France, essential for health and nutritional risk assessment.
- Although less frequent in adolescents and young adults, the dietary routine of three main meals per day still characterizes the French food model. Meals are often shared with family or friends and at home.
- Dairy products, fish and fruit are consumed more by women.
- Seafood, fruit, vegetables, cakes and pastries are consumed more by individuals with a higher education level.
- Since 1999, intakes of fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice, and chocolate have increased; inversely, those of milk, cheese, meat, cakes and sweet biscuits and bread have decreased.
- Since 1999, intakes of bread, potatoes, milk, meat and poultry, and sweet products decreased in children aged between three and 14 years old; in those aged between 15 and 17 years old, only meat and poultry intake decreased. Intakes of vegetables and fruit remained similar whereas intakes of puréed fruits increased strongly.
- Women have a higher intake of lipids but also higher intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids; their vitamin and mineral intakes are also higher; their protein intake is lower.
- 26.5% of women, 12.6% of men and 11.5% of children used food supplements over the 12 months prior to the study: these rates increase with educational level. Medical prescription and advice from a health professional are the main reasons for purchase. 70% of adults and 65% of children report using food supplements to maintain or improve their health. 23% of food supplements consumed by adults and 37% of those consumed by children are medicines. 63% of food supplements consumed by adults and 79% of those consumed by children are mainly composed of vitamins and minerals.
Additional analyses will determine how often recommended intake levels of vitamins and minerals are not met or are exceeded, by taking into account intakes from food supplements on the one hand and fortified and unfortified foods on the other.
Afssa, Étude INCA 2, 2006-07. www.afssa.fr/Documents/PASER-Sy-INCA2.pdf