The Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) indicator

The MDD-W indicator was developed by FAO and partners to fill the need for a simple, food-based indicator for measuring dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, key dimensions of diet quality. Consumption of at least 5 (minimum threshold) out 10 defined food groups by women of reproductive age over the previous 24 hours is calculated which is associated with a higher probability of adequacy for 11 micronutrients. MDD-W is primarily collected using one of two qualitative dietary assessment methods: open recall or list-based. Since the indicator’s launch in 2015, 49 countries have collected MDD-W data: 10 at national level and 39 at subnational level for research or impact evaluation.

FAO’s work on MDD-W

With financial support from the German Ministry of Agriculture, FAO is carrying out a three-year research project in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Zambia to:

  • Evaluate the performance of current methodologies used for data collection
  • Update guidance to supplement the MDD-W: A Guide to Measurement (2016), with new recommendations on good practices (forthcoming by end of 2020).

MDD-W is included in the 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) (forthcoming, July 2020).

Capacity development, technical assistance and knowledge sharing on data collection, analysis and interpretation

FAO collaborates with partners to support capacity development for high quality data collection and analysis of MDD-W at regional and country levels:

  • Provide technical support on the use of MDD-W for monitoring and evaluation of FAO projects
  • Plan and conduct regional workshops for countries in the South and East Africa regions and the Near-East region
  • Assist countries on integrating MDD-W in national surveys, when requested.

Share new evidence, survey tools, capacity development materials and lessons learnt through the FAO MDD-W listserv and existing networks.

Find out more here.