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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001 Mar;55(3):200-7.

Macronutrient and food intake in the Baltic republics.

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European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.



The objective of this study was to describe mean macronutrient and food intakes in the Baltic republics, with a particular focus on fat, vegetable and fruit consumption.


Cross-sectional study.


Data from surveys conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the summer of 1997 were used. Information was collected using a 24 h recall of dietary intake and an interviewer-administered questionnaire.


Representative national samples of adults were selected. All those with information from the dietary recall were included in the study (Estonia: n = 2015; Latvia: n = 2300; Lithuania: n = 2094).


The mean proportion of energy from fat was high in each country, but particularly in Lithuania (44%) and Latvia (42%) compared with Estonia (36%). In contrast, percentage energy from carbohydrate, protein and alcohol was higher in Estonia. Mean protein intake was generally sufficient if not high in some population sub-groups. Median vegetable intakes were very low (<200 g/day) in each country, particularly in Latvia. While 78% of the Lithuanian respondents consumed vegetables daily, this was the case in only 60% of the Latvian and 48% of the Estonian respondents.


This study suggests that there is a pressing need to replace high-fat energy dense foods by foods rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, such as vegetables and fruits, in the Baltic republics. This could provide the populations with a reduced risk and increased protection against non-communicable diseases. These issues will need to be tackled through comprehensive food and nutrition policies and health promotion campaigns.

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