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Many Europeans do not consume enough micronutrients

Published on

12 November 2013

A new analysis of dietary micronutrient intake data from eight European countries suggests that many men and women across all age groups do not consume sufficient B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, calcium and zinc.

The analysis included the latest data from national dietary surveys from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and Spain, and compared them with recommended intakes (1). The study results showed that there was a great prevalence of insufficient intakes of various micronutrients – especially vitamin D, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 and folic acid, as well as iron, calcium and zinc – across all sex and age groups.

The researchers commented that the findings increase knowledge of micronutrient inadequacy in Europe and are a valuable resource for assessing the state of populations. The results confirmed earlier data from national surveys, such as a dietary survey by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), which observed insufficient intakes of vitamin A, vitamin D and folic acid, as well as zinc and iron (2). Only 43% of the population ate vegetables daily, and the average amount of fruit consumed was less than three pieces per day. The scientists concluded that the modern Spanish diet is a western-type diet that is further and further removed from the typical Mediterranean diet.


  1. Mensink G. B. M. et al. Mapping low intake of micronutrients across Europe. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013; 110(4):755–773.
  2. Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición. ENIDE: National Survey of Dietary Intake (2009–2010). Results of consumer data. 2011.

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