MDD-W: Measuring women's dietary diversity to address malnutrition
One of the major impediments to developing programmatic action against micronutrient deficiency among women of reproductive age has been the lack of adequate indicators. MDD-W is an attempt to fill that gap.
Deficiencies in micronutrients such as iron, iodine, vitamin A, folate and zinc can have devastating consequences for the human body. Women – particularly in the child bearing age – are especially vulnerable due to their greater needs for essential vitamins and minerals.
At programmatic level, improving women’s micronutrient intake can begin with the promotion of more diverse diets. In many resource-poor environments, however, this isn’t always possible.
For development actors, two major impediments to developing programmatic action have been the general scarcity of data on women’s dietary patterns and micronutrient intakes, and the lack of adequate indicators.
The MDD-W indicator – which stands for the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women of Reproductive Age – is an attempt to fill the gap, by providing a way of measuring what women consume over a 24-hour period.
Nutrition indicators are generally slow to take off, but since it’s international endorsement in 2014, MDD-W has been hailed as an important step towards filling the need for indicators for use in national and subnational assessments.
Watch the video above to learn more about the indicator, including how it works and what are its main strengths and weaknesses.