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Calculation of Minimum Diet Diversity for children above 23 months

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 2 replies.

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Normal user

21 Oct 2011, 10:28

WHO defines Minimum Diet Diversity as Proportion of children 6–23 months of age who receive foods from 4 or more food groups. Can this formula be adapted to calculate diet diversity of children above 23 months or the formula is strictly used for age 6-23 months?

Mary Arimond

University of California, Davis

Normal user

24 Oct 2011, 15:59

Hi, I was involved in development of this indicator for infants/children 6-23 months, and have done other work on food group diversity indicators. To my knowledge, there is no standard "yardstick" for adequate or optimal diversity for older children. However, based on all we know, higher food group diversity would improve micronutrient intakes for older children as well. In particular, very monotonous diets with one or two food groups certainly would indicate a poor-quality diet, likely to be inadequate in many micronutrients. In some countries there are food-based dietary guidelines that indicate a recommended number of food groups. This could also be used as a basis for constructing an indicator in those countries (i.e. that each child should have X food groups daily). The Food and Agriculture Organization maintains a repository for national food-based guidelines at:

Tariq Khan

Normal user

24 Oct 2011, 18:22

Calculating minimum dietary diversity is very obvious. Here I have a question about calculating the Minimum meal frequency. If we refer to the WHO guidelines we can see that four types of frequencies have been shown but the food group has not been specified. so, I am just stuck with this point whether all of these frequencies should be calculated for each food group or what. Because in the guideline in the middle column of WHO indicator table all of these frequencies have been mentioned for all groups. I need clearance on this point. Thanks.

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