Fewer Norwegians eat fish than ever

Children who eat fish.Photo: NTB scanpix / Meek Tore

Fewer eat fish in Norway than ever before

Norwegians eat nearly seven kilos less fish than ten years ago, according to a recent report from the Norwegian Directorate of Health. This worries the health authorities.


It is especially among the youngsters that the fish intake is worryingly low.

“The development we see is unfavourable in terms of health,” says Linda Granlund, Senior Consultant in the Directorate of Health. They recommend having fish for dinner two to three times a week.

On Tuesday, the Directorate of Health presented its annual report “The development in the Norwegian diet”. It states, among other things, that an unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for illness and early death in Norway.

“Exchanging one or two meat dinners a week with fish will give big health effects,” Granlund points out.

However, in spite of such well-known advice, the consumption of fish has fallen from just over 36.5 kilos per person per year in 2007 to 29.9 kilos in 2017.

Less fruit and vegetables

The report also shows that total consumption of fruit and vegetables has fallen. Far fewer eat potatoes for dinner, while the consumption of fruit and berries has also fallen by two kilos per person per year from 2007 to 2017. Consumption of other vegetables, on the other hand, has increased by almost eight kilos in the same period. However, in recent years, carrots and onions have fallen in popularity.

At the same time, the survey shows that more 15-year-olds than before eating vegetables every day. Amongst the boys, there are 14 per cent more who eat vegetables every day compared to 2014, while the same is true for 17 per cent of the girls.

“Eating greens is one of the most important things to do for health,” says Granlund.

15-year-olds also drink less sugary sodas and soft drinks and eat less candy than in 2014.

Clear weaknesses

This is positive, says the Directorate of Health. Nevertheless, Norway’s diet has continued to cope with nutritional weaknesses that increase the risk of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, they conclude in the report.

Although meat consumption fell a little last year, it has increased over time and appears to have stabilized at a high level in the last decade. Today, every Norwegian consumes about 76 kilos of meat a year, compared to 53 kilos in 1989. The health authorities recommend a limited intake of red meat and processed meat products.

On the positive side, the consumption of grain products is rising again, after falling somewhat over time.

“Wholemeal grain products are an important contributor to reducing the risk of disease,” says Granlund.

Action Plan

In the National Action Plan for Better Diet until 2021, the Directorate of Health has set a number of goals. Among these are:

  • Consumption of fruit and vegetables, coarse grain and fish should increase by 20 per cent
  • The use of saturated fat, sugar and salt should be reduced
  • The proportion of the population following these dietary guidelines should be increased.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today