Global trends in dietary micronutrient supplies and estimated prevalence of inadequate intakes
This article (PDF) in the PLOS ONE Journal characterizes global trends in dietary quality for all countries between 1961 and 2011. This is done by estimating micronutrient density of the food supply, and the prevalence of inadequate intake of 14 micronutrients. Over this 50-year period, Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where dietary micronutrient density has declined, while in most regions it improved. The estimated prevalence of inadequate intakes of micronutrients has declined in all regions due to increased total production of food and/or micronutrient density. This decline has been particularly strong in East and Southeast Asia. At the global level, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and zinc have the lowest levels of adequate estimated intake. Fortification has reduced the estimated prevalence of inadequate micronutrient intakes in all low-income regions, except South Asia. Still, the food supply in many countries is far below energy requirements, which suggests a need to increase the availability and accessibility of nutritious foods. Countries with adequate food energy supply show a very large variation in dietary quality. Many of these countries would benefit from more diverse diets with a greater proportion of micronutrient-dense foods. Dietary quality can be improved through fortification, bio-fortification, and agricultural diversification, as well as efforts to improve access to and use of micronutrient-dense foods and nutritional knowledge. Reducing poverty and increasing education, especially of women, are integral to sustainably addressing malnutrition.