The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2022-prioritisation of topics for de novo systematic reviews

Anne Høyer, Jacob Juel Christensen, Erik Kristoffer Arnesen, Rikke Andersen, Hanna Eneroth, Maijaliisa Erkkola, Eva Warensjo Lemming, Helle Margrete Meltzer, Thorhallur Ingi Halldorsson, Inga Thorsdottir, Ursula Schwab, Ellen Trolle, Rune Blomhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: As part of the process of updating national dietary reference values (DRVs) and food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs), the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2022 project (NNR2022) will select a limited number of topics for systematic reviews (SRs). Objective: To develop and transparently describe the results of a procedure for prioritisation of topics that may be submitted for SRs in the NNR2022 project. Design: In an open call, scientists, health professionals, national food and health authorities, food manufacturers, other stakeholders and the general population in the Nordic and Baltic countries were invited to suggest SR topics. The NNR2022 Committee developed scoping reviews (ScRs) for 51 nutrients and food groups aimed at identifying potential SR topics. These ScRs included the relevant nominations from the open call. SR topics were categorised, ranked and prioritised by the NNR2022 Committee in a modified Delphi process. Existing qualified SRs were identified to omit duplication. Results: A total of 45 nominations with suggestion for more than 200 exposure-outcome pairs were received in the public call. A number of additional topics were identified in ScRs. In order to omit duplication with recently qualified SRs, we defined criteria and identified 76 qualified SRs. The NNR2022 Committee subsequently shortlisted 52 PI/ECOTSS statements, none of which overlapped with the qualified SRs. The PI/ ECOTSS statements were then graded 'High' (n = 21), 'Medium' (n = 9) or 'Low' (n = 22) importance, and the PI/ECOTSS statements with 'High' were ranked in a Delphi process. The nine top prioritised PI/ECOTSS included the following exposure-outcome pairs: 1) plant protein intake in children and body growth, 2) pulses/ legumes intake, and cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, 3) plant protein intake in adults, and atherosclerotic/cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, 4) fat quality and mental health, 5) vitamin B12 and vitamin B12 status, 6) intake of white meat (no consumption vs. high consumption and white meat replaced with red meat), and all-cause mortality, type 2 diabetes and risk factors, 7) intake of n-3 LPUFAs from supplements during pregnancy, and asthma and allergies in the offspring, 8) nuts intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes in adults, 9) dietary fibre intake (high vs. low) in children and bowel function. Discussion: The selection of topics for de novo SRs is central in the NNR2022 project, as the results of these SRs may cause adjustment of existing DRVs and FBDGs. That is why we have developed this extensive process for the prioritisation of SR topics. For transparency, the results of the process are reported in this publication. Conclusion: The principles and methodologies developed in the NNR2022 project may serve as a framework for national health authorities or organisations when developing national DRVs and FBDGs. This collaboration between the food and health authorities in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden represents an international effort for harmonisation and sharing of resources and competence when developing national DRVs and FBDGs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7828
JournalFood and Nutrition Research
Pages (from-to)1–38
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Dietary reference values
  • Food-based dietary guidelines
  • Systematic reviews
  • Nordic countries
  • The Baltics
  • National food and health author-ities
  • Evidence-based nutrition
  • Nutrient recommendations


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