Norwegians consumption of vegetables has very much become in season, while unhealthy sugar confectionery has been cast aside. The Directorate of Health are, nevertheless, worried about a sharp drop in fish consumption.
The youngest, especially, eat less fish than before, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s new statistics on Norwegian diet. Between 2015 and 2016, fish consumption decreased by 4%, contrary to the government’s target of an increase of 20% by 2021.
‘It’s a big challenge that we eat too little of the fish that contain the healthy fats, and other nutrients such as iodine, selenium, and vitamin D. Changing one or two meat dinners a week to fish will have major effects on health,’ said division director, Linda Granlund, at the Directorate of Health.
Powerful carrot growth!
However, she also sees several improvements. Never before have the statistics suggested that we eat more vegetables, and since 2000, this consumption has increased from 59 to 81 kilos per year, while the consumption of fruit and berries has risen from 69 to 89 kilograms.
‘To eat green vegetables is one of the most important things to do for health,’ said Granlund.
She especially commends that Norwegians have really taken the carrot to heart. It has proven to be very popular in recent years, and is the vegetable grown in the greatest quantity.
‘Carrots are a super food! They are packed with nutrients, they are grown in Norway, and they are cheap. I want to call carrots the new ‘Kinderegg’,’ concluded Granlund.
Last year, more than 14 kilograms of carrots were sold to every person in Norway,on average.
For several years, the authorities have worked to reduce sugar intake among Norwegians, and this work is also bearing fruit. Since 2000, consumption has declined by 16 kilograms to 27 kilos per person, per year, on average. This is still too high, according to the directorate.
‘The steady decline we see in sugar consumption is also good news for public health. High sugar intake can lead to obesity, and diseases like type 2 diabetes, and it is detrimental to dental health. Therefore, no more than 10% of the energy we eat should come from added sugar.
Now, the figure is 12%. There are sweet drinks, chocolate, candy, and cakes. These are the main sources of sugar in the population, so here we still have a lot to do. But we are on the right track’, said Granlund.
In 2016, the consumption of chocolate was 9.3 kilograms, and other sugar products amounted to 5.2 kilograms, while, on average, 54 litres of soda was consumed (with added sugar).
Recommendation for fish instead of meat
Meat consumption has also increased in recent years, a development the health authorities hope to turn around.
‘The consumption of meat has increased significantly over time. In the past ten years, meat consumption has increased by approximately 8%, and consumption also increased slightly in 2016, the Norwegian Directorate-General wrote in its report.
‘It would be an advantage to increase the consumption of fish instead of meat. It is therefore unfavourable that the consumer price index has increased significantly more for fish than for meat over the past ten years.
NTB Scanpix / Norway Today