Implementation and analysis of representative surveys on food consumption, energy and nutrient intake, nutritional status and other aspects of nutritional behaviour of the adult population in Germany
Dietary habits of the German population are subject to constant change. For example, food consumption varies due to nutritional trends or changes in the food supply. Therefore, dietary habits of the general population and specific population groups have to be assessed on a regular basis by National Nutrition Monitoring. For this purpose, the German National Nutrition Survey (NVS) II (2005-2007) and the longitudinal study NEMONIT (2008-2014) were conducted by the MRI. A follow up study is currently being planned.
With the National Nutrition Monitoring, representative food consumption surveys are carried out for the 18-80-year-old population in Germany. Among other things, data on food consumption are collected and based on this data energy and nutrient intake can be calculated. These results are evaluated on the basis of nutritional recommendations e.g. of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). In addition, further aspects of nutritional behaviour are assessed such as vegetarian or vegan diets. Based on the data of the National Nutrition Monitoring, possible needs for nutrition policies can be derived. For example, it can be determined which food groups contribute considerably to the intake of sugar, fat and salt and should therefore be the focus of reformulation strategies. The obtained data also serve as a basis for risk assessment of the population e.g. in relation to harmful substances in foods, as a planning aid for national nutritional recommendations and as a decision-making aid for legal regulations at national and European level. Furthermore, the data of the German National Nutrition Monitoring are used in various ways to address specific research questions. For instance, based on data of the NVS II it was possible to characterize buyers of organic food according to their nutrition and health behaviour.
In addition to the German National Nutrition Monitoring for adults, the Children’s Nutrition Survey to Record Food Consumption (KiESEL) covered the food consumption of children aged six months to five years in Germany. The survey was conducted by the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR) from 2014-2017. At the MRI, the KiESEL data are being analysed further with regard to food consumption and nutrient intake and the results are being evaluated by applying national and international recommendations for these age groups. These analyses are being undertaken by the Department of Nutritional Behaviour in close collaboration with the Department of Child Nutrition.