Dietary habits and physical activity

Diet and physical activity influence the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity. In order to support focused prevention initiatives and monitor developments in health-related lifestyle of the population we need to systematically survey dietary and activity habits of the population.

DTU National Food Institute designs and conducts the Danish National Survey of Diet and Physical Activity. The Institute has conducted national dietary surveys in 1985, 1995, 2000-2008 and 2011-2013. The survey has included physical activity in the two latest surveys, which is treated in a dietary context as well as an independent research field.

The survey is representative, multidisciplinary and maps the Danish population’s diet, physical activity and overweight of the as well as their determinants. This includes both the habits and values associated with mealtimes and the underlying motives and barriers to healthy eating. 

The survey is a tool for assessing population nutrient intake as well as the degree to which official food based dietary guidelines are fulfilled. It thus contributes with knowledge about the four key lifestyle factors: Diet, smoking, alcohol and physical activity in the Danish population. 

The survey results have been published in several reports and in a wide range of journals and scientific articles – see the publications summary

DTU National Food Institute uses the results for advisory tasks including research within nutrition, for example in relation to about fortification of foods, assessments of new ingredients, in relation to dietary recommendations and to target nutritional information at the general population. Data from the dietary surveys also constitute an important element in risk assessments.

DTU National Food Institute cooperate with a wide range of Danish and international stakeholders on improving methodologies and conducting other dietary surveys.

The Institute manages a Nordic survey which measures indicators for the intake of food and the extent of physical activity in the Nordic population. The Institute is also a member of the European Food Safety, EFSA’s, scientific expert panel on nutrient intake data and has supplied data for EFSA’s databases.

The National Food Institute also collects supplementary dietary data to describe developments – for example through food balance statistics or data on household purchase of foods.


Danish Veterinary and Food administration
The Danish National Centre for Social Research
The Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen 
International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC), Lyon, France
National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Prague, Czech Republic
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands
Odense University Hospital
Scientific Institute of Public Health (IPH), Brussels, Belgium
University of Oslo