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Nutrition and Dietary Behaviour

Our diet is essential for health and well-being. What we eat and drink is important for the daily supply of energy and nutrients and for maintaining the body's functions. In the long term, a balanced diet also plays a significant role in the prevention of disease and its progression in the event of illness. Therefore, dietary behaviour is a key issue for health promotion and disease prevention, e.g. through health policy measures.

In the context of health monitoring activities (BGS98, DEGS1, GEDA, KiGGS), various aspects of dietary behaviour are collected, analysed and evaluated. Data collection instruments include food frequency questionnaires and, for more comprehensive dietary assessments, diet history interviews (using the software DISHES) and food records. Food consumption was recorded in more detail in the nutrition module of the Federal Health Survey 1998 and in the nutrition study as a KiGGS module (EsKiMo, EsKiMo II). In addition, blood and urine parameters are also collected as part of the health monitoring, which allow an evaluation about the supply of selected nutrients (e.g. folate or iron).

With the nutrition and dietary behaviour information several research questions can be addressed. This comprises analyses in different age groups on food consumption, nutrient supply, adherence to dietary recommendations and dietary patterns. Further aspects such as dietary behaviour in specific groups of interest, prevalence of vegetarian diets, use of nutrient supplements and prevalence of family meals have been also reported.

Some analyses and work on development of databases and instruments for assessing dietary behaviour are carried out in cooperation, for example, with the Max Rubner Institute and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment or in international projects.

Recent Projects


Adherence to food based dietary guidelines among adolescents in Germany according to socioeconomic status and region - Results from EsKiMo II.

Brettschneider A., Lage Barbosa C, Haftenberger M., Lehmann F, & Mensink G (2021) Public Health Nutr. vol. 24 issue 6 1216–1228. DOI: 10.1017/S136898002100001X

Comprehensive assessment of food and nutrient intake of children and adolescents in Germany: EsKiMo II – the eating study as a KiGGS module

Lage Barbosa C, Brettschneider AK, Haftenberger M, Lehmann F, Frank M, Heide K, Patelakis E, Perlitz H, Krause L, Houben R, Butschalowsky HG, Richter A, Kamtsiuris P, Mensink GBM (2017) BMC Nutrition 3:75 DOI: 10.1186/s40795-017-0196-5

Mapping low intake of micronutrients across Europe

Mensink GBM, Fletcher R, Gurinovic M, Huybrechts I, Lafay L, Serra-Majem L, Szponar L, Tetens I, Verkaik-Kloosterman J, Baka A and Stephen AM (2013) Br. J. Nutr. 110(04): 755-773. DOI:

Dietary behaviour and socioeconomic position: the role of physical activity patterns

Finger JD, Tylleskär T, Lampert T, Mensink GBM (2013) PLoSONE 8(11): e78390. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078390

Dietary patterns of adolescents in Germany - Associations with nutrient intake and other health related lifestyle characteristics

Richter A, Heidemann C, Schulze MB, Roosen J, Thiele S., Mensink, GBM (2012) BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:35, doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-35

Relative validation of the KiGGS Food Frequency Questionnaire among adolescents in Germany

Julia Truthmann, Gert BM Mensink, Almut Richter (2011) Nutrition Journal, 10:133

Dietary patterns are associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in a representative study population of German adults

Heidemann C, Scheidt-Nave C, Richter A, Mensink GBM (2011) British Journal of Nutrition 106(8): 1253–1262. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511001504

Food intake of young people with a migration background living in Germany

Kleiser C, Mensink G, Neuhauser H, Schenk L, Kurth B (2010) Public Health Nutrition. 13(3):324-330 doi:10.1017/S1368980009991030

Relative validation of a food frequency questionnaire for national health and nutrition monitoring (Nutrition Journal, 14.9.2010)

Marjolein Haftenberger, Thorsten Heuer, Christin Heidemann, Friederike Kube, Carolin Krems and Gert BM Mensink (2010) Nutrition Journal, 9:36

HuSKY: a healthy nutrition score based on food intake of children and adolescents in Germany

Kleiser C, Mensink G, Scheidt-Nave C, Kurth B. (2009) British Journal of Nutrition. vol. 102, issue 04, 610–618

Potential determinants of obesity among children and adolescents in Germany

Kleiser C, Schaffrath Rosario A, Mensink GBM et al. (2009) BMC Public Health 9:46 DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-9-46

Vitamin D status and health correlates among German adults

Hintzpeter B, Mensink GBM, Thierfelder W, Müller MJ, Scheidt-Nave C (2008): European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62, 1079–1089

Higher Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Immigrant Background among Children and Adolescents in Germany

Hintzpeter B, Scheidt-Nave C, Müller MJ, Schenk L, Mensink GBM (2008) J. Nutr. vol. 138 no. 8 1482-1490