Folate intake in a Swedish adult population: Food sources and predictive factors

  • Celia Monteagudo
  • Henrik Scander
  • Bente Nilsen
  • Agneta Yngve
Keywords: Dietary habits, Riksmaten study, vegetable consumption, lifestyle habits, demographic differences


Introduction : Folate plays an important role in cell metabolism, but international studies show that intake is currently below recommendations, especially among women. The study objective was to identify folate food sources by food group, gender, and age group, and to identify factors influencing folate intake, based on food consumption data for Swedish adults in the 2010–11 Riksmaten study.

Methods : The sample included a representative Swedish population aged 18–80 years ( n = 1657; 56.3% female). Food and nutrient intakes were estimated from self-reported food records during 4 consecutive days. Food consumption was categorized into 26 food groups. Stepwise regression was used to analyze food groups as folate sources for participants. Factors predicting the highest folate intake (third tertile) were determined by logistic regression analysis.

Results : Vegetables and pulses represented the most important folate source for all age groups and both genders, especially in women aged 45–64 years (49.7% of total folate intake). The next folate source in importance was dairy products for the youngest group (18–30 years), bread for men, and fruit and berries for women. The likelihood of being in the highest tertile of folate intake (odds ratio = 1.69, 95% confidence interval 1.354–2.104) was higher for men. Influencing factors for folate intake in the highest tertile were low body mass index and high educational level in the men, and high educational level, vegetarian diet, organic product consumption, non-smoking, and alcohol consumption within recommendations in the women.

Conclusion : This study describes the folate intake per food group of Swedish adults according to the 2010–11 Riksmaten survey, identifying vegetables and pulses as the most important source. Data obtained on factors related to folate consumption may be useful for the development of specific nutrition education programs to increase the intake of this vitamin in high-risk groups.


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How to Cite
Monteagudo C., Scander H., Nilsen B., & Yngve A. (2017). Folate intake in a Swedish adult population: Food sources and predictive factors. Food & Nutrition Research, 61. Retrieved from
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