Data on Danes' dietary habits

The National Food Institute has conducted national dietary surveys among adults and children since 1985 in order to gain an insight into Danes’ dietary habits. Since 2000 detailed data on Danes’ physical activity have also been collected and participants’ weight has been measured since 2011.

Data from a total of 18,000 Danish children and adults have been collected in the survey, which is officially called the Danish national survey of diet and physical activity, DANSDA.

Since 2006 the National Food Institute has also conducted two national dietary surveys among infants and young children aged six months to three years, in total covering approximately 3,000 infants and young children. 

The method behind DANSDA

DANSDA is a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey based on a simple, random sample of children and adults, who are drawn from the Central Person Register (CPR). 

The latest DANSDA was conducted in 2011-2013 and approximately 4,000 Danes aged four to 75 took part. 

In addition to registering their diet and physical activity personal interviews are also conducted in which participants are asked about: 

  • social background (including level of education, occupation and income)
  • meal habits 
  • attitudes towards and knowledge about food and health
  • motivation and barriers to eating healthy and being physically active
  • intake of fast food and ready-to-eat meals as well as frequency of dining out
  • physical activity and sedentary behaviour 
  • use of dietary supplements etc.

The survey period covers the whole calendar year. Data on diet and physical activity are collected seven days in a row throughout the entire day for each participant. As such, data can be used to map out Danes’ dietary habits and seasonal variations in diet and physical activity as well as to investigate differences in diet and physical activity between weekdays and weekend days. Because the dataset covers a long period of time, it can also be used to analyze trends over time.

Many applications

DANSDA serves many purposes within the area of public health and food safety, and it is the only national survey in which information about the entire diet is collected at the individual level. The survey is used in a variety of tasks related to advisory services and research both nationally and internationally as well as for teaching purposes. Data are used by authorities, researchers, educators, health professionals, the food industry and the press, in connection with e.g. health promotion activities and development of food products.

Data can e.g. be used to assess whether the Danish diet lives up to the official food based dietary guidelines and nutrition recommendations, to evaluate the effect of health promoting activities or to assess the extent to which Danes through their diet are exposed to particular risks such as pesticides or acrylamide.

Private interests can also benefit from DANSDA. The institute has e.g. analyzed Danes’ meat intake on behalf of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, and the institute has analyzed Danes’ intake of whole grains on behalf of the Danish Whole Grain Partnership. The institute has also conducted Interviews and analyses of Danes’ attitudes towards and knowledge of health on behalf of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.

The National Food Institute can customize analysis of the data for clients, who need insight into a certain area of Danes’ diet and physical activity. The institute’s staff and the client agree what the dataset should cover and what the customized data analysis would cost.

Reports on results from DANSDA

Results from DANSDA are published in reports that contain numerous tables of different age groups’ intake of various food groups as well as macronutrients, vitamins and minerals. The reports can be downloaded from the National Food Institute's website.

Read more about the dataset on the special topic portal on nutrition and dietary habits.


Danish national survey of diet and physical activity, DANSDA
Sisse Fagt or
Jeppe Matthiessen

Infants and young children's survey diet survey
Ellen Trolle

Physical activity
Jeppe Matthiessen


Sisse Fagt
Senior adviser
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 22


Jeppe Matthiessen
Senior adviser
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 44


Ellen Trolle
Senior Researcher
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 21
22 OCTOBER 2018