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 of women of reproductive age. This population–level qualitative indicator measures the proportion of women 15-49 years of age who consumed food items (at least 15g) from at least five out of the ten defined food groups the previous day or night. It is associated with a higher probability of nutrient adequacy for 11 micronutrients. The MDD-W indicator is primarily collected using one out  of two qualitative dietary assessment methods: open recall or list-based. Since the indicator’s launch in 2015, 55 countries have collected MDD-W data: 11 at national level and 44 at subnational level for research or impact evaluation. The MDD-W indicator is also included in the annual report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, since 2020. 

FAO’s work on the MDD-W indicator

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

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.