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J Nutr. 2007 Feb;137(2):472-7.

Dietary diversity score is a useful indicator of micronutrient intake in non-breast-feeding Filipino children.

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Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy 00153.


Micronutrient malnutrition remains a problem of public health concern in most developing countries, partly due to monotonous, cereal-based diets that lack diversity. The study objective was to assess whether dietary diversity score (DDS) based on a simple count of food groups consumed and DDS using a 10-g minimum intake for each food group (DDS 10g) are good indicators of adequate micronutrient intake in 24-71-mo-old non-breast-feeding Filipino children. Pearson's correlation and linear regression were used to assess the utility of DDS and DDS 10g as indicators of micronutrient intake. Sensitivity and specificity analysis were used to determine the most appropriate cut-off point for using DDS to categorize children with high probability of adequate micronutrient intake. The average diet of the sample population consisted of 4-5 food groups. The mean probability of adequate nutrient intake (MPA) of 11 micronutrients was 33%. The Pearson's correlation coefficient between MPA and DDS was 0.36 (P<0.001) and for DDS 10g it increased to 0.44 (P<0.001). Intake of individual micronutrients was correlated to DDS for most nutrients. When maximizing sensitivity and specificity, the best cut-off points for achieving 50 and 75% probability of adequate micronutrient intake were 5 and 6 food groups, respectively. DDS and DDS 10g were both significant predictors of adequate micronutrient intake. This study demonstrates the utility of indicators of dietary diversity to predict adequate intake of micronutrients in the diets of young non-breast-feeding children.

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