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Dietary Diversity Assessment

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Anonymous 3261

Normal user

14 Mar 2016, 11:51

Household surveys in the UNICEF format use the following 11 food groups to assess dietary diversity, and a diet with foods from at least four categories are considered "sufficiently diverse."

1) Bread, rice, noodles; 2) Tubers, 3) Vegetables, 4) Fruit, 5) Meat, 6) Eggs, 7) Fish, 8) Lentils, Nuts; 9) Dairy; 10) Oil, Fat, Butter; 11) Sugar, Honey

When assessing dietary diversity from household surveys in Latin America, people were "sufficiently diverse" with only 4 categories of foods, one of which was nearly always sugar/ honey.

Any advice on including sugar/ honey as an indicator of dietary diversity, and if there's a better way to assess dietary diversity using these indicators?

Mary Arimond

University of California, Davis

Normal user

14 Mar 2016, 17:20

Hi,
There are quite a few different dietary diversity indicators in use which makes challenges! However, when you are talking about dietary diversity of individuals, as a proxy measure to tell you something about diet quality, there are two indicators you could consider. There is the WHO indicator for infants and young children where "Minimum Dietary Diversity" is considered as four out of seven defined food groups. The seven groups DO NOT include sugar/honey or other sweeteners - see http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9789241599290/en/. Similarly there is a new indicator for dietary diversity for women. It has more food groups (ten) but again these DO NOT include sweeteners. There is a new guide for measuring the women's dietary diversity indicator that should be published very soon, but in the meantime you can read about the food groups here: http://www.fantaproject.org/monitoring-and-evaluation/minimum-dietary-diversity-women-indicator-mddw.
Still others use a household-level indicator of dietary diversity, but this was not designed/defined to tell about diet quality, it was more a proxy for economic access to foods/kilocalories. In this indicator, everything is included/"counts" - such as fats, oils, sweets, alcohol. If you are interested in diet quality, this might not be the best indicator to choose. I hope this is helpful.

Anonymous 3261

Normal user

15 Mar 2016, 16:37

Mary, thank you! This is very helpful.

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