Optimizing Diets for Nutritional Adequacy:
A Study in Four African Countries

Alemu Tesfaye, Noora Kanerva

 

The importance of a well-balanced diet cannot be overstated, especially in developing countries where malnutrition is a widespread issue. A recent study conducted by InnoFoodAfrica researchers aimed to improve the diets of individuals in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. The researchers used a statistical method called linear programming to analyze the dietary intake among urban populations, taking into account how much different nutrients the consumed foods provide, what are the recommended intakes of these nutrients, and how much the consumed food has cost. The output of the analyses are suggestions of how the current diet could be changed to match nutrition recommendations within the budget that the households can consume to purchasing food.

Based on the modeled affordable diet, in all countries, both women of reproductive age and children would benefit from increasing the intake of fruits or vegetables compared to the current diet. In addition, for women, the affordable diet included fewer cereals than the current diets.

Regarding children aged between 6-23 months, in Ethiopia, the affordable diet included more roots and tubers, and dairy compared to the current diet, whereas in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, the affordable diet included fewer cereals than the current diet. In Kenya and South Africa, also dairy was reduced in the affordable diet. The affordable diet included more legumes compared to the current diet in Ethiopia and Uganda.

In Kenya and South Africa, women the affordable diet included more meat and poultry than the current diet. In Kenya, the affordable diet also included more eggs, and fish, whereas in Uganda the affordable diet had more legumes and nuts compared to the current diet. In both Kenya and Uganda, the affordable diet resulted in lower amounts of roots and tubers, and dairy compared to the current diet.

In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of a balanced diet in ensuring adequate nutrition and suggests ways to improve the diets of individuals without increasing the cost of the diet in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa.

The full study of this research will be made available soon.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search