Can household dietary diversity inform about nutrient adequacy? Lessons from a food systems analysis in Ethiopia
This study (PDF) in the Food Security journal examined the use of the household dietary diversity score (HDDS) to assess household nutrient adequacy in Ethiopia. It also examined the correlates of HDDS following the food systems framework. Low dietary diversity and nutritional inadequacy are
widely prevalent in Ethiopia with significant variations
between urban and rural areas, across regions and other
socio-economic characteristics. To better understand problems of diets and nutrition and identify potential interventions, the emerging approach is to understand food as a “system”, taking into account food supply chains, food environments and consumer behavior. Results show that the average nutrient consumption in Ethiopia varies by place of residence and by income profile, where households in urban areas and those in the higher income quintiles rank favorably. Among 13 nutrients under study, is was found that nutrient inadequacy for fat, calcium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A ranging between 46% and 89%, and the prevalence of inadequacy for vitamin B12 to be up to 100%. Econometric results showed that HDDS is a strong predictor of a household’s mean probability of nutrient adequacy (MPA), and that an HDDS of 10 is the minimum threshold at which HDDS can improve household MPA. The study found suggestive evidence within the food systems that improving household-incomes, access to health and transport services are beneficial to improve HDDS and nutrient consumption in Ethiopia.