Despite healthy diets and a lack of government support, food supplement use in Denmark is among the highest in Europe, the Danish Food Institute (NFI) has concluded after a survey.
In the two year study that polled 4000 people from small children to pensioners, a whopping 60% of 4-9-year-olds were given multivitamin supplements by their parents and 50% of 10-17-year-olds.
Omega-3s, calcium and vitamin D accounted for 19%, 10% and 8% of the total food supplement consumption across all ages.
The NFI, part of the Technical University of Denmark, noted the high usage came despite the the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) recommending only infants, dark-skinned people, women who plan to become or are pregnant, and those above 70, dark-skinned people should consider supplementation.
The survey found more women (71%) than men (57%) take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Also, more women than men take two or more supplements.
“The use of dietary supplements is widespread in the Danish population, even though the vast majority of Danes have their need for vitamins and minerals met through their diet,” the NFI said.
It noted the effect of education on supplement consumption.
“In other countries an association has been found between consumption of dietary supplements and people's level of education. However, according to the NFI’s survey it is only among Danish men that consumption increases with an increasing level of education. The differences in consumption between men and women therefore become smaller the higher the level of education.”
It also found use of multivitamin and mineral supplements is greatest during winter.
“This could be because people do not believe they eat enough fruits and vegetables during the winter months and therefore try to cover their bases by taking a supplement.”
If you read Danish there is more on the survey here .