EU MENU Slovenia – Support to National Dietary Surveys in Compliance with the EU Menu methodology – fourth support (National project)

Duration of the project:

1. 1. 2015 – 31.1.2019

Lead Partner:

National Institute of Public Health

Collaborating parties / partners:

Jožef Stefan Institute
University edical Centre Ljubljana
UP Faculty of Health Sciences
Pediatric Clinic
UL Biotechnical Faculty
Institute of Nutrition
UL Faculty of Education
UM Faculty of Health Sciences

Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:

Assist. Prof. Tamara Poklar Vatovec (SICRIS, ResearchGate)


Slovenia ended 2013 with the population of 2,061,000 with 21,111 new-borns. Density population in 2013 was 102 people per square km. By a decree of 2000 Slovenia has been divided into 12 statistical regions (NUTS level 3), which are grouped in two cohesion regions (NUTS level 2, Western and Eastern Slovenia). Slovene cuisine has over 30 different regional varieties, influenced greatly by Slovenia’s neighbouring countries, which reflect in variety of dietary patterns among Slovene population.

Slovenia is dealing with very limited amount of available precise data sources regarding food consumption, particularly for elderly as well as for children, especially infants. Early nutrition has important long -term effects on health and wellbeing in adulthood.

Food consumption data are very useful for public health concerns but not precise enough for risk assessment or for determining micronutrient intakes. Also, food consumption studies carried out in previous years used different methodologies, and are therefore often not comparable. Some relevant data on adult population has been collected by the national dietary study “Dietary habits of the adult population of Slovenia in terms of health protection II” in 2007/2008 and provided to the EFSA (Collaboration agreement for the provision and processing of data DPPA/EFSA/DATEX/2009/02) (Gabrijelčič Blenkuš et al, 2009).

National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has a mandate to perform a national representative food consumption surveys. NIJZ is the central Slovenian institution for public health practice, research and education. Their academic staff works on various tasks covering the areas of epidemiology of communicable and non-communicable diseases, health promotion, health system research and national coordination of prevention programs in primary health care. 

NIJZ is also a national statistical authority for health statistics, so the national rules for the treatment of confidential data apply. NIJZ maintains large databases on hospital discharges, out-patient visits, causes of deaths registry, birth medical registry, environmental statistics, communicable diseases statistics, data on vaccinations, illegal drug users, etc., and implements large scale international surveys, such as Health Behaviour of School-aged Children, European Health Interview Survey, as well as national surveys in the field of public health: Breastfeeding, Smoking among nurses, etc. At the same time, NIJZ serves as the authorised producer within the national system of official statistics, responsible for the statistics of public health and safety at work.

In addition, NIJZ focuses on public health in relation to human nutrition, healthy lifestyle promotion and education, risk assessment, risk communication and environmental health. NIJZ activities include development and coordination of health promotion programs, education, research, scientifically based risk assessments and advisory services to Slovenian and international authorities. NIJZ regularly monitors food consumption patterns, food and nutrient intakes, carries out nutrition surveys, elaborates and updates dietary guidelines, organizes public health projects and takes part in the decision making process of food and nutrition policies both at national and international levels.

Slovenia adopted the Resolution on the national nutritional policy programme 2005 -2010 (ReNNPP 2005-10). As part of the preparatory process for a new policy, an evaluation of the nutrition policy in 2005 to 2010 was carried out in 2010 and one of the next steps in preparation of new national food and nutrition policy for next decade should be the development of measurable indicators which would enable interim evaluation of the future nutrition and food policy implementation. The existing information and data system in this area should be upgraded to assure the data needed, which is one of the important objectives of the new policy.

In this context the consortium of partners has been established to align the interests and principles of work and share the research knowledge in the field of nutrition studies. Consortium of  partners agrees that national food consumption data on individual level, data on dietary habits, and dietary intake for specific population groups in Slovenia are the necessary basis for planning forthcoming activities and measures, which are a source of research information and support national policy makers in their decisions. National food consumption data on the individual level are one of the priorities in food safety as an important basis for reliable and accurate estimates of exposure. In this field NIJZ is working in close collaboration with “Jožef Stefan” Institute (IJS), as a dietary software developer. IJS is the leading Slovenian scientific research institute, covering a broad spectrum of basic and applied research. The main subject concerns production and control technologies, information, communication (ICT) and knowledge technologies, biotechnologies, new materials, environmental technologies, nanotechnologies, and nuclear engineering. The Institute accumulates and disseminates knowledge through the pursuit of research, development, and education at the highest international level of excellence.

Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia has designated the NIJZ with the support of consortium partners as the national competent organization for nutrition research and dietary survey in compliance with the EU Menu methodology in Slovenia.