The Minimum Dietary Diversity Score for Women (MDDW) - A Measure of Food Variety for Women of Childbearing Age

The Minimum Dietary Diversity Score for Women (MDDW) – A Measure of Food Variety for Women of Childbearing Age

The Minimum Dietary Diversity Score for Women (MDDW) is the measure of the nutritional quality of women of childbearing age between 15 and 49 years. The evaluation criterion is the degree of supply with the following eleven important micronutrients: vitamins A and C, iron, zinc, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, vitamin B6 and B12 as well as folic acid and calcium (1). Basis for the analyzes is a questionnaire, which covers the consumption of food from ten product groups (cereals, legumes, nuts, fish/poultry/meat, milk, eggs, vitamin A containing fruit, other fruit, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables). Complementary other nutrient suppliers, including insects, butter and oil, are taken into account, which contain the above-mentioned micronutrients in different concentrations.

In a pilot project, the MDDW has succeeded in describing the nutritional situation of women in some developing countries, including Uganda, in a regionally specific way (2). Currently, the European Commission also recommends using the MDDW score as a quality criterion for future programs to reduce malnutrition in the world. The goal is to initiate and promote measures that, with a micronutrient-rich diet of women, will enable healthy growth for (future) children and eliminate uneven starting conditions (3). The Minimum Dietary Diversity Score for Women has been developed and published in the UN’s Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA III) (4).


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(1) FAO and FHI 360. 2016. Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women: A Guide for Measurement. Rome: FAO, available via:

(2) Y Martin-Prevel et al. 2015. Moving forward on choosing a standard operational indicator of women’s dietary diversity. Rome: FAO., available via: . The publication describes micronutrient supply among women in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Philippines and Uganda.

Likewise G. Chakona and C. Shackleton. Minimum Dietary Diversity Scores for Women Indicate Micronutrient Adequacy and Food Insecurity Status in South African Towns. Nutrients. August 2017 ; Jh. 9, Nr.8, S. 812., available via:

(3) Council of the European Union. Second Progress Report on the Action Plan on Nutrition – Council conclusions (26 June 2017) RAT: 10457/17 PUBLIC, available via

(4) Advertising presence FANTA III: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistence available via:

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