Understanding the dietary practices of infants, young children, and women can strengthen policies, programs, and interventions to improve nutrition. Updated guidance on 17 indicators for infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices and minimum dietary diversity for women (MDD-W) have recently been released by UNICEF-WHO and FAO, respectively. These indicator guides are designed for data collection in large-scale surveys and national programming, but can also be used on a smaller scale or for research purposes.
Recommendations for the collection of these dietary data involve administering new questions or modifying existing ones. To put these new guidelines into practice, The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program conducted cognitive testing on the survey questions in an environment that closely mimics a real, complex survey implementation setting. The results provide critical information to strengthen the validity and quality of the data collected to formulate the IYCF and MDD-W indicators.
The updated guidelines also call for better adaptation of the survey questions to address the context-specific nature of dietary patterns. USAID Advancing Nutrition has worked with a diverse group of partners to support the adaptation of a Diet Quality Questionnaire (DQQ) across 92 countries for women, infants, and young children. The questionnaire adaptations from this work can be used in the collection of IYCF and MDD-W data in surveys, like the DHS and others, which is critical for high-quality, consistent data collection.
During this event, presenters shared new global guidance on IYCF and MDD-W indicators. Speakers also shared their experience with the development and use of the updated guidelines, pilot results on the collection of these indicators, and country-specific adaptations of the dietary questions.
Chris Vogliano (moderator) is a technical advisor of Food Systems for USAID Advancing Nutrition.
Vrinda Mehra is a nutrition statistics specialist for UNICEF.
Giles Hanley-Cook is a nutrition/statistics consultant in the Food and Nutrition Division of the FAO.
Sorrel Namaste is the senior nutrition technical advisor for The DHS Program.
Anna Herforth is a senior researcher with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the Global Diet Quality Project.