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Denmark can save billions if more people follow the dietary guidelines

A report from the University of Copenhagen figures on the benefits for both finances and health if more Danes eats healthier. In January 2021, the Danish Minister of Food, Mogens Jensen will launch national dietary guidelines that takes both health and climate into account.

Every year, Denmark can avoid more than 1,000 deaths and achieve a health economic gain of just over 12 billion DKK  if consumers eat more according to Denmark’s national dietary guidelines. This is shown by a new report by the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen for the Ministry of Environment and Food.

Especially if consumers get less salty, red and processed meats as well as saturated fats, there can be big gains to be made. Also more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood will be able to benefit both the economy, quality of life and longevity, the report shows.

“We can all make a difference for our own quality of life, society and of course also for the climate if we eat healthier. Next year, I will launch the new, climate-friendly dietary guidelines, which will help to give more people a basis for green and healthy eating habits”, says Minister of Food, Mogens Jensen.

The Danes’ eating habits are generally far from the official dietary guidelines. It has consequences for the individual in the form of, for example, how long we live, how sick we become and for the quality of life. In addition, it also has consequences for society, including the economy of society.

“If we can contribute to more people having a better, longer and more productive life, while at the same time we can save money in the health care system, we as a society have an obligation to act. This does not only apply to the individual consumer. Important stakeholders such as the retail can also make a difference and do more to ensure that consumers make healthy choices and put fruit and vegtables in the shopping basket, and I would of course like to encourage that”, says Mogens Jensen.

Cooperation with stakeholders across the food sector is an important part of the Ministry of Environment and Food’s efforts to increase healthier and more climate friendly eating habits among Danes. This is done through the Innovation Partnership, where both retail, food producers and authorities work together to make the healthy choice the easy choice for the Danes. You can read more about the Innovation Partnership in the white paper on Health.

Source: Danish Ministry of Enviroment and Food (In Danish)