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Danes are big users of dietary supplements

Friday 28 Mar 14
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FACTS

There are no recommendations for the general population to take supplements. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration recommends only that certain population groups take a supplement, including infants, women who plan to become or are pregnant, people above the age of 70, dark-skinned people or covered persons. Read more about the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s advice on dietary supplements at Altomkost.dk.
The use of dietary supplements is widespread in the Danish population, even though the vast majority of Danes have their need for vitamins and minerals met through their diet. A survey from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, shows that six out of ten Danes take one or more dietary supplements, and especially children are heavy users of multivitamin and mineral supplements.

Danish consumption of dietary supplements is one of the highest in Europe. A new survey of dietary supplement consumption among 4-75-year-old Danes during the period 2011-2013 shows that a multivitamin- and mineral supplement is the type of supplement most commonly consumed. According to the survey, about 60% of the 4-9-year-olds are given a multivitamin and mineral supplement, while half of the 10-17-year-olds and about half of all adults take this type of supplement.

Fish oil, calcium and vitamin D supplements are also popular among Danes. They account for 19%, 10% and 8% respectively of the total consumption of supplements.

Consumption differences according to gender and education

Among people over 18 years of age more women (71%) than men (57%) take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Also, more women than men take two or more supplements.

In other countries an association has been found between consumption of dietary supplements and people's level of education. However, according to the National Food Institute’s survey it is only among Danish men that consumption increases with an increasing level of education. The differences in consumption between men and women therefore become smaller the higher the level of education.

Consumption peaks in winter

The new figures also show that consumption of multivitamin and mineral supplements is greatest during winter. This could be because people do not believe they eat enough fruits and vegetables during the winter months and therefore try to cover their bases by taking a supplement.

However, it is not only consumption of multivitamin and mineral supplements that drops during the summer months: Generally fewer supplements are eaten during summer.

Read more

The survey has been presented in an E-article from the National Food Institute: Danskernes forbrug af kosttilskud (pdf) (available in Danish only).

The survey is based on data collected by the National Food Institute from 2011 to 2013. It includes the consumption of dietary supplements among 3,980 individuals aged 4 to 75 years from throughout the country.

Please also see the press release from March 22, 2010: Mange unge bruger kosttilskud (available in Danish only).