Realistic food-based approaches alone may not ensure dietary adequacy for women and young children in South-East Asia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Elaine L Ferguson, Louise Watson, Jacques Berger, Mary Chea, Uraiporn Chittchang, Umi Fahmida, Kuong Khov, Sengchanh Kounnavong, Bach Mai Le, Nipa Rojroongwasinkul, Otte Santika, Seyha Sok, Daream Sok, Tran Thanh Do, Lua Tran Thi, Manithong Vonglokham, Frank Wieringa, Emorn Wasantwisut, Pattanee Winichagoon

Objectives: Micronutrient deficiencies, in southeast Asia (SE Asia), remain a public health challenge. We evaluated whether promoting the consumption of locally available nutritious foods, which is a low-risk micronutrient intervention, alone can ensure dietary adequacy, for women of reproductive age and 6–23 m old children.

Methods: Representative dietary data from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam were analysed using linear programming analysis to identify nutrients that are likely low in personal food environments (problem nutrients), and to formulate food-based recommendations (FBRs) for three to six target populations per country.

Results: The number of problem nutrients ranged from zero for 12–23 m olds in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to six for pregnant women in Cambodia. The FBRs selected for each target population, if adopted, would ensure a low percentage of the population was at risk of inadequate intakes for five to ten micronutrients, depending on the country and target population. Of the 11 micronutrients modelled, requirements for iron, calcium and folate were most difficult to meet (≥ 10 of the 24 target populations), using FBRs alone. The number of individual FBRs selected per set, for each target population, ranged from three to eight; and often included meat, fish or eggs, liver/organ meats, vegetables and fruits.

Conclusions: for practice Intervention strategies need to increase access to nutritious foods, including products fortified with micronutrients, in SE Asia, when aiming to ensure dietary adequacy for most individuals in the population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)S55-S66
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Children, Food-based recommendations, Linear programming analyses, SE Asia, Women

ID: 210064161