Minimum Dietary Diversity – Women

Indicator Phrasing

% of women of reproductive age (15 - 49 years) who ate foods from at least 5 food groups the previous day or night

Indicator Phrasing

INDICATOR PHRASING: % of women of reproductive age (15 - 49 years) who ate foods from at least 5 food groups the previous day or night

What is its purpose?

Minimum Dietary Diversity-Women (MDD-W) indicator assesses the proportion of women 15-49 years of age who have consumed at least five out of the ten pre-defined food groups the previous day or night. It is an indicator of a diet's micronutrient adequacy, an important dimension of its quality.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of women aged 15 - 49 years:


1) Check whether yesterday was a special day (religious festival or celebration) when unusually varied or limited diet was eaten - if so, do not proceed with collecting dietary data, as it is likely that they will not reflect a typical diet.


2) List all meals that the respondent ate in the previous day using the Recording Meals Form (see below, including specific survey questions).


3) Double check the meals composition (e.g. porridge with or without milk).


4) Check for any snacks (including fruits) which were not mentioned.


5) Only then record in the questionnaire which food groups were eaten. Double check with the respondent regarding foods eaten from all the food groups that were not mentioned (for example: "Did you yesterday eat any eggs?")


6) Count the number of consumed food groups consumed by the interviewed women during the previous day and night. 


7) To calculate the indicator's value, divide the number of women who consumed food from at least 5 food groups by the total number of interviewed women. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to percentages. 

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by age groups and wealth.

Important Comments

1) Dietary diversity is prone to seasonal differences. Do your best to collect baseline and endline data in the same period of a year; otherwise, it is very likely that they will not be comparable. Do not collect data during the fasting periods (such as pre-Easter time or Ramadan) and fasting days. 


2) Record food groups in the questionnaire only after all meals were listed in the Recording Meals Form – never record them straightaway as it is very likely that the number of food groups consumed will be under reported.


3) When training your data collectors, practice extensively which meals belong to which food group (allocate at least 3 hours full of examples and exercises). For example, while pumpkin flesh belongs to Vitamin A Rich Foods, pumpkin leaves belong to Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (see more examples in the FAO Guidelines below). If your questionnaire includes examples of different foods per each group, ensure that the examples are relevant to the local context.


4) Do not record foods in quantities lower than one tea spoon (for example, a small amount of fish powder added for flavouring).


Take advantage of FAO/ FANTA's guidance on MDD-W (access below).



This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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