GAIN Working Paper Series 6 - Simplifying dietary assessment the nutrient specific semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire


Dietary intake data are required to design, monitor, and evaluate nutrition programmes and policies; however, current dietary assessment methods are complex, time consuming, and costly. Recently, GAIN developed a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (SQ-FFQ) that can be used in coverage surveys to estimate the amount of fortified and biofortified foods consumed and their contributions to nutrient intakes. However, this method is limited in that it does not account for nutrient intakes from other sources in the diet and thus cannot estimate the extent to which the nutrient gap in the diet is being filled through these programmes. 

As such, we developed a nutrient-specific SQ-FFQ (NS-SQ-FFQ) module that estimates intakes of key nutrients of interest from fortified and/or biofortified foods as well as other sources in the diet using simplified dietary assessment methods. This working paper outlines the steps required to develop and implement the module and analyse the resulting data across three phases: preparation, fieldwork, and data cleaning and analyses. 

We show that the NS-SQ-FFQ can yield individual-level data on intake of key nutrients, which can be used by programme planners to determine the extent to which the nutrient gap in the diet is being filled through consumption of fortified and/or biofortified foods.

Further testing and refinement of the method in field settings is needed.  

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