The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) are scientific recommendations used in the Nordic and Baltic countries to develop national dietary guidelines. The upcoming sixth edition, NNR2023, will be launched on 20 June 2023. Over the next eight weeks there’s the opportunity to submit views and factual input on the scientific recommendations for health and environmental sustainability. Some 60 background chapters have already gone out for consultation.
Effect of food on health and sustainability
Nordic co-operation on joint nutritional recommendations is unique and has been ongoing since the 1980s. The latest version, which was published in 2012, has been downloaded more than 300,000 times by people from across the globe who work with food and good eating habits in a variety of ways.
In the upcoming edition, the NNR committee has not only looked at the health effects of the food that we eat for the first time, but also included the impact of food on the environment and climate. This is something that has garnered considerable interest both in the Nordic countries and around the world.
“For the first time, the Nordics will present scientific advice – not only about which food is good for health, but also what’s good for the environment. The Nordic Region is one of the first regions in the world to take a joint step in this pioneering field, and it will undoubtedly serve as a starting point for debate and interesting discussions,” says Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Nordic framework for developing national dietary guidelines
This unique co-operation on nutritional recommendations provides a shared evidence-based foundation which assists the countries in developing dietary guidelines for their citizens. Among other things, the recommendations look at the amount of vitamins and minerals the body needs in order to develop and function. They also look at current knowledge regarding fat and carbohydrates and the relationship between food habits and the risk of dietary diseases. The authorities in the eight countries then formulate the final dietary guidelines in their respective country.
“The NNR committee, which has worked on the new recommendations, does not evaluate or give advice on food production and agricultural methods. The updated NNR report will provide scientific advice to the national authorities, who will then prepare the specific dietary guidelines for the eight Nordic and Baltic countries. Agricultural methods, food production, food imports, and degree of self-sufficiency are assessed by each individual country,” explains Professor Rune Blomhoff, who leads the work of the NNR committee.
In the forthcoming NNR report, the health effects of 36 nutrients and 15 food groups have been studied and summarised in major technical reports in which thousands of studies have been systematically assessed.
The report also contains background chapters on all aspects of sustainability, but will only provide recommendations for environmental aspects. The other aspects are too context-specific and need to be developed further in each country.