20 years after the last representative survey was carried out in the western part of Germany before reunification (Nationale Verzehrstudie I, 1985-1988) the Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection commissioned the Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food to conduct a second national nutrition survey.
In 2007, the Nationale Verzehrsstudie II (NVS II) provided information on the nutrient and energy intake of almost 20,000 14 to 80-year-old Germans, their current food consumption, and on lifestyle and eating behavior (what, when, where and why do Germans eat?).
Two reports with the results were published in 2008: the first report dealing with the description of the participants, and data on health and lifestyle aspects, and a second report about the food and nutrient intake data.
1. Food consumption
- 87.4% of those surveyed do not meet the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung – DGE) of 400 g/day for vegetable consumption.
- 59% of those surveyed do not consume the amount of fruit recommended by the DGE (250 g/day).
- 16% of study participants had not eaten fish or food containing fish in the four weeks preceding the survey.
- 82% of men and 91% of women do not meet the recommendations for vitamin D consumption. This is particularly true of young adults and senior citizens.
- 79% of men and 86% of women do not meet the recommendation for consumption of vitamin B9 (folic acid). The percentages rise with increasing age.
Further analysis showed that
- 48% of men and 49% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin E.
- 32% of men and 29% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin C.
- 15% of men and 10% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin A. The intake of milk, butter and liver products as sources of preformed vitamin A (retinol) is insufficient.
- As a vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene contributes (especially in women) significantly to the overall vitamin A intake.
- 21% of men and 10% of women are below the recommended value for vitamin B1.
- 20% of men and 26% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin B2.
- 12% of men and 13% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin B6.
- 8% of men and 26% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin B12.
- 1.2% of men and 1.8% of women are below the recommended reference value for vitamin B3.
- Iodine is a nutrient risk factor in the population. When iodized salt is not used, 96% of men and 97% of women consume less than the recommended amount of iodine.
- For women of reproductive age the issue of iron intake is also problematic. More than 75% of women in this age group consume less than the recommended amount of iron.
- Of female adolescents (14–18 years), 74% consume less than the recommended amount of calcium. Among older men and women (65–80 years) the percentages are 61 and 65 respectively.
- Among those who took supplements median reference values for nutrient intake are met through supplementation alone for vitamin D and are exceeded for vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6.
- The reference values are not met through supplementation alone for vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin C or vitamin B9 (folic acid) or for minerals.
- Among supplement users the proportion of those who do not meet the reference values for nutrient intake diminishes by 6–25% in respect of vitamins D, E, C, folic acid, calcium and magnesium when the intake of supplements is taken into account.