Applying dietary assessment methods for food fortification and other nutrition programs

Dietary assessment data are essential for designing, implementing and evaluating food fortification and other food‐based nutrition programs. Planners and managers must understand the validity, usefulness and cost trade-offs of employing alternative dietary assessment methods to obtain requisite programming information, but little guidance exists for doing so. This paper strives to fill this gap in the literature while providing practical guidance to inform programming decisions.

Twenty‐five semi‐structured expert interviews were conducted and literature reviewed for scientific and operational information on four of the most common dietary assessment methods used in nutrition programming: Twenty‐four hour recall, Food Frequency Questionnaires/Fortification Rapid Assessment Tool, Food Balance Sheets, and Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys.

This study yields that considerations of validity, usefulness, and cost of the four methods can be distilled into guidance for choosing dietary assessment methods that are suitable for program life‐cycle specific decisions. Assuming a realistic resource endowment, typically, though not always, one would select a method meeting at least moderate standards of validity and usefulness for the purpose and requiring moderate to low levels of resources.