Since the turn of the millennium, Norwegians’ sugar intake has almost halved, while their vegetable consumption has skyrocketed, according to a new report from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
The Directorate’s annual report “Developments in the Norwegian diet” was presented at a webinar on Thursday, at noon.
“We know that an unhealthy diet increases the risk of many diseases, greatly contributes to poor health, and leads to an earlier death,” division director Lina Granlund in the Norwegian Directorate of Health said.
Granlund added that Norway is committed to working towards the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of ensuring that fewer people die from non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and COPD.
“Today, 70-80% of us will die from precisely these diseases,” Granlund said, emphasizing that a healthy diet contributes to people living both longer and better.
This year’s report gives cause for optimism, as it shows that the average sugar intake per person from 2000 to 2019 fell from 43 to 24 kilos.
From 2018 to 2019, however, there was no change in sugar intake.
“It is very gratifying that we have remained at a level that is so close to the recommendation,” Granlund noted in a press release.
In the last 20 years, there has also been a significant increase in the intake of vegetables, fruits, and berries.
In 2000, Norwegians ate an average of 59 kilos of vegetables a year. Last year, the amount increased to 80 kilos.
At the same time, the intake of fruit and berries increased from 69 kilos to 85 kilos in 2019.
We are very happy with the increase in vegetable consumption,” Granlund said.
“Eating a lot of vegetables is one of the best things you can do for your health. But the consumption of fruit and berries should also increase, and we are a long way from those goals,” she emphasized.
Not enough seafood
The Norwegian Directorate of Health also hopes to see an increase in the proportion of fish and seafood in Norwegians’ diets.
In 2019, it averaged 33 kilos per person – a slight decrease from 34 kilos in 2009.
“We eat too little fish, and national dietary surveys show that children, young people, and adults eat less fish and fish products than meat and meat products. This trend should be reversed,” Granlund concluded.