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  • Saturated fat (Indicator 15)

Saturated fat (Indicator 15)

The indicator describes the following: Mean proportion of total energy intake from saturated fat in persons aged 18+ years.

The indicator describes the following: Mean proportion of total energy intake from saturated fat in persons aged 18+ years.


The energy content of food comes from fat, carbohydrates and proteins. The indicator describes the proportion of the diet’s total energy content that is derived from saturated fat.

Results

Saturated fat comprised 12.5 percent of total energy intake in men and 12.7 per cent in women. This is shown by data from the 7th survey of the Tromsø study conducted in 2015-2016. This is similar to the results of the previous nationally representative dietary survey in Norway conducted in 2010-2011, Norkost 3, showing that saturated fat accounted for 13 percent of total dietary energy intake. It is recommended that energy intake from saturated fat does not exceed 10 percent of total energy intake. We eat more saturated fat than is recommended. 

Figure 1. Saturated fat as a proportion of total energy intake in the diet by sex, age-standardised percentage.
Figure 1. Saturated fat as a proportion of total energy intake in the diet by sex, age-standardised percentage. The numbers are based on 11 425 men and women aged 40 years and older who completed a food frequency questionnaire in the 7th survey of the Tromsø Study, 2015-2016. . Tromsø Study
Figure 2. Saturated fat as a proportion in percentage of total energy intake in the diet by sex and age-group
Figure 2. Saturated fat as a proportion in percentage of total energy intake in the diet by sex and age-group. The numbers are based on 11 425 men and women aged 40 years and older who completed a food frequency questionnaire in the 7th survey of the Tromsø Study, 2015-2016. . Tromsø Study

In order to observe trends over time, we have to use rough estimates from Norwegian food supply data. The data on nutritional content at the wholesale level show that the proportion of dietary energy coming from saturated fat decreased from 16 per cent to 14 per cent from 1975 to 1990. There was a subsequent increase to 16 per cent in 2013. Since 2015, the proportion of total energy intake from saturated fat has been 14 to 15 per cent according to the food supply data. 

  • Public Health Report: Diet

Data sources 

The data sources for this indicator are the Tromsø Study, the National Dietary Surveys (Norkost) and data from Norwegian Food Supply Data published in the report “Trends in the Norwegian Diet published annually by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. 

The results of the Tromsø Study and the HUNT Study will be published at a later date. 

A description and definitions follow below. 

Data source: The Tromsø Study

Description  

The Tromsø Study was initiated in 1974 and includes repeated health examinations of whole birth cohorts and random samples of the population in Tromsø municipality (Tromsø 1-7). The two most recent surveys are particularly relevant for the period that is subject to reporting from the member states to the World Health Organization; 2010-2025. Tromsø 6 (2007-2008) included approximately 13 000 adults in the age range 30-87, with an attendance of 66%. Tromsø 7 (2015-2016) included more than 21 000 adults aged 40 years and older, with an attendance of 65 %. 

The data on saturated fat is published in the scientific paper by Lundblad et al.: Energy and nutrient intakes in relation to National Nutrition Recommendations in a Norwegian population-based sample: the Tromsø Study 2015-16. Food Nutr Res 2019;63. doi: 10.29219/fnr.v63.3616. 

Effect measure 

  • Mean proportion of total energy intake from saturated fat in men and women aged 40 years and older. Age standardised according to the population of Norway 2016. 

Interpretation and sources of error 

The results from the Tromsø Study are estimated from a validated food frequency questionnaire with questions about consumption of 261 different foods, beverages, dishes and food supplements. Respondents were asked to indicate the frequency (how often do you eat …) and amount (how much…) of each food item, having one’s habitual diet (previous year) in mind. The food frequency questionnaire was handed out at attendance in Tromsø 7 and 72% of the 21,083 participants returned the questionnaire. Valid results from 11,425 respondents have been included. Possible sources of error in this type of data may be related both to the sample (selection of participants where the healthiest and highly educated attend to a larger degree) and to the variables (over- and underreporting of healthy and unhealthy foods, respectively). 

Data source: The National Dietary Surveys (Norkost) 

Description  

The national dietary surveys in adults (Norkost) provide data at the individual level about the intake of food and drink among a nationally representative sample of the population of Norway. National dietary surveys were conducted among adults in 1993, 1997 and 2010-2011 under the direction of the Department of Nutrition at the University of Oslo, in collaboration with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.  

Norkost 3 was conducted in 2010-2011 among a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18-70 and with a 37 per cent participation rate (a total of 1787 people participated). The method used was a combination of repeated 24-hour dietary recall interviews and a food propensity questionnaire. The next Norkost study in adults, Norkost 4, is currently being piloted.  

The data for the indicator is obtained from the report: ‘Norkost 3, a nationally representative dietary survey of men and women in Norway aged 18-70, 2010-11’. 

Effect measure 

  • Mean proportion of total energy intake from saturated fat in people aged 18+. 

The age distribution of the population has not been taken into account here. This means that the data are currently not age-standardised. 

Interpretation and sources of error 

The results are based on two 24-hour dietary recall interviews with 862 men and 925 women, and do not include dietary supplements. Since the intake for each person is the average of two days of data collection, this does not provide a sufficient basis on which to comment on the individual’s normal intake.  

Data source: Norwegian Food Supply Data 

Description  

Norwegian Food Supply Data provide information at the wholesale level regarding net supply of foodstuffs in kilograms per capita per year. Figures from Norwegian Food Supply Data are presented in the annual report “Trends in the Norwegian Diet” published by the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Energy and energy-providing nutrients have been calculated based on the most recent preliminary food supply data as well as the final figures for the previous year, by means of the food calculation system “Kostberegningssystem” (KBS) in the University of Oslo. 

Effect measure 

  • Wholesale level data on net supply of foodstuffs in kilograms per capita per year. 
  • Calculated energy and energy-providing nutrients based on food supply data, amount per capita per day  

Interpretation and sources of error 

The data provide rough estimates and do not provide information on the proportions consumed by adults, children and domestic animals respectively, nor does it take into account food loss and food waste in the supply chain, food waste at the household level, removal of inedible parts, and weight change during processing and preparation.   

Global indicator definition  

Indicator 15. Age-standardised mean proportion of total energy intake from saturated fatty acids in persons aged 18+ years.  

National adaptation to global indicators 

The data shown from the Tromsø Study apply to a population aged 40 years and older. 

The data shown from the National Dietary Survey of adults, Norkost 3 are not age-standardised.  

History

26.11.2021: New figures, new paragraphs in Data sources.

Authors and contacts

Text compiled by the Tromsø Study in UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Department of Chronic Diseases and Ageing at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The Department of Nutrition at the University of Oslo(UiOprovided the basis for the data from Norkost 3. The Tromsø Study in collaboration with the Department of Nutrition (UiO) have provided the data from Tromsø 7. 

December 2019: reviewed, minor updates