Intake of food and nutrition

In the Danish National Survey of Diet and Physical Activity, data on dietary intake are collected throughout Denmark. For this purpose a randomly selected group of Danes aged 4-75 are extracted from the Civil Registration System (CPR) and are invited to participate in the survey. Those who accept to participate are asked to register their dietary intake for seven consecutive days by means of a pre-coded food diary and a range of photos illustrating common portion sizes.

The food diaries are returned to the National Food Institute, and the mean intake of food groups and nutrients are calculated using the GIES program and the Food Composition Database (

The calculated data is used to estimate food and nutrient intake in different population groups, e.g. men and women, children and adults, and in different regions of the country. Further it is possible to estimate intakes of macronutrients fat, protein and carbohydrate as well as vitamins and minerals. Based on results from the 1995 survey it was established that the Danish populations had insufficient intakes of iodine and as a consequence salt with iodine was introduced.

Additionally, exposure to additives and chemical food contaminants in the diet, e.g. pesticides, can be monitored to evaluate if the population is at risk of excessive intake: Results from the survey showed that certain population groups were at risk of excessive intakes of nitrite from their diet if EU’s threshold limit values for nitrite in meat products were followed. As a consequence Denmark has now lower threshold limits for nitrite in meat products than the rest of the EU countries.

Since the participants are continually extracted from the Danish CPR system, and intake is assessed during a year, seasonal variation in food intake can also be examined. The use of dietary supplements is also recorded. 


The Danish National Centre for Social Research


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


Sisse Fagt
Senior adviser
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 74 22
10 APRIL 2020