Table of Contents

  • The 5th edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, NNR 2012, has been produced by a working group nominated by the Working Group on Food, Diet and Toxicology (Nordiska arbetsgruppen för kosthållning, mat och toxikologi (NKMT)) under the auspices of the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Food Issues (Nordiska ämbetsmannakommittén för fiske och vattenbruk, jordbruk, livsmedel och skogsbruk (ÄK-FJLS Livsmedel). The NNR 2012 working group was established in 2009 and consisted of Inge Tetens and Agnes N. Pedersen of Denmark; Ursula Schwab and Mikael Fogelholm of Finland; Inga Thorsdottir and Ingibjorg Gunnarsdottir of Iceland; Sigmund A. Anderssen and Helle Margrete Möltzer of Norway; and Wulf Becker (Chair), Ulla-Kaisa Koivisto Hursti (Scientific secretary), and Elisabet Wirfält of Sweden.

  • For several decades, the Nordic countries have collaborated in setting guidelines for dietary composition and recommended intakes of nutrients. Similarities in dietary habits and in the prevalence of diet-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes, has warranted a focus on the overall composition of the diet, i.e. the intake of fat, carbohydrate, and protein as contributors to the total energy intake. In 1968, medical societies in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden published a joint official statement on “Medical aspects of the diet in the Nordic countries” (Medicinska synpunkter på folkkosten i de nordiska länderna). The statement dealt with the development of dietary habits and the consequences of an unbalanced diet for the development of chronic diseases. Recommendations were given both for the proportion of fat in the diet and the fat quality, i.e. a reduced intake of total fat and saturated fatty acids and an increase in unsaturated fatty acids.

  • The current 5th edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR 2012) puts the whole diet in focus. The recommendations emphasize food patterns and nutrient intakes that, in combination with sufficient and varied physical activity, are optimal for development and function of the body and that contribute to a reduced risk of certain diet-associated diseases. The development of the NNR is based on current scientific knowledge and an overall assessment of the available evidence.

  • The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) constitute the scientific basis for the planning of diets for population groups and for the development of food-based dietary guidelines in the Nordic countries. The recommendations serve as a basis for assessing nutrient intakes by groups of healthy individuals and for developing national and regional nutrition policies, nutritional educational programs, food regulations, and action programmes. The NNR are primarily valid for groups of healthy individuals with various levels of physical activity (excluding competitive athletes). For individuals with diseases and other groups with special needs, the dietary composition and energy content might have to be adjusted accordingly. Based on current scientific knowledge, the NNR give values for the intake of, and balance between, individual nutrients that are adequate for development and optimal function and that reduce the risk of developing certain diet-related diseases. If a diet provides enough food to cover the energy requirements, complies with the ranges for distribution of energy from macronutrients, and includes foods from all food groups, the requirements for practically all nutrients will be met. Exceptions might be vitamin D, iron, iodine, and folate in certain subgroups of the population or during certain life-stages.

  • The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) were established in the 1980s for planning purposes only. Today the NNR comprise a set of Nordic dietary reference values based on the scientifically grounded relationships between nutrient intakes and indications of adequacy, the promotion and maintenance of good health, and the prevention of diet-related lifestyle diseases in the general population. These values have been adapted to the Nordic region.

  • If a diet provides enough food to cover the energy requirements, complies with the ranges for distribution of energy from macronutrients, is varied and includes food from all food groups, the requirements for practically all nutrients will be covered. Exceptions might be vitamin D, iron, iodine and folate in subgroups of the population. The nutrient density of average diets in the Nordic countries is presented in Table 1. Data are calculated from recent national dietary surveys. Some of the pronounced differences may be explained by different dietary patterns (i.e. consumption of fish), levels of micronutrients added to foods (vitamin D, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, iron and iodine) or differences in soil and composition of fertilizers (selenium). There may also be significant differences caused by the various survey methods and calculation procedures, e.g. recipes and correction for losses in cooking. Contributions to intakes of vitamins and minerals from supplements are not included.