Do Dietary Diversity Indices Reflect the Nutritional Status of School Aged Children?

Dietary Diversity, with foods from all food groups is necessary to meet the requirements for essential nutrients which lead to good health. This study examines whether different dietary diversity indices have relationship with the nutritional status of school children aged 6 to 12 years, in two different regions of India: Wardha district, Maharashtra and Koraput district, Odisha. Dietary diversity was calculated using three methods: Individual food scores calculated using 24 hour diet recall (FS24hr) data; household dietary diversity using Berry’s index (DDI) and food scores calculated using food frequency data (FSFFQ). Anthropometric indices were used to assess the nutritional status of school aged children. The Nutrient Adequacy Ratio (NAR) and the Mean Adequacy Ratio (MAR) were calculated as indicators of nutrient adequacy. The relationship between NAR, MAR and three different diversity indices, dietary diversity and anthropometric indices were analyzed. Overall, 38% of 6 to 12 year school aged children were found to be undernourished. The NAR was <70% for all nutrients except protein, energy, thiamine and niacin and MAR was found to be <70% of requirement with mean of 60.5% in both locations. The dietary diversity was found to be relatively better in Wardha when compared with Koraput. The mean diversity indices in both the locations were FS24hr 7.56, DDI 89 and FSFFQ 62.9. Overall most of the nutrient adequacy and mean adequacy were correlated with all three dietary diversity indices when both locations were studied together. However all three dietary diversity indices failed to show any relationship with nutritional status of school children aged 6-12 years from both locations taken together.

DISCLAIMER: With permission from Editor, The Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, Coimbatore, India, to publish on LANSA Publication website page.

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This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies

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