An Assessment of Dietary Diversity in Six Nigerian States
Diet quality (DQ) has been receiving increased attention because of its relationship to diet-related chronic noncommunicable diseases. A diverse range of foods has been shown to increase energy and micronutrients intake in the developing countries. Diversity or variety in Nigerian diets is not known. A cross-sectional descriptive study design was adopted and a semi-structured questionnaire with in-built 24-hour diet recall section was the tool for data collection. A 14-food group model was used to evaluate diet diversity (DD). DD was based on the number of food groups consumed in the previous 24hours period. A DD score (DDS) ranging from 0 to 14 was constructed. A DDS terciles for low, medium and high was also constructed. DD of Nigerian diet was evaluated in six states representing the three Agro- ecological zones, rural and urban sectors of Nigeria. 1,472 women with a mean age (SD) of 27.9(6.2) years participated in this study. Majority (97.1%) were married, occupation included traders (21.5%), civil servants (23.9%), artisans (19.1%) and farmers (15.4%). Overall, mean dietary diversity score (DDS) was 5.81 (1.4). This varied from 6.61 in Akwa-Ibom state to 4.98 in Kaduna state .Overall 83% of the participants had average/medium DDS (5-9) while 16.5% had low (1-4) DDS. These varied significantly among the states. Low DDS (1-4) was 25% and 33% in the states in the dry Savanna zone but 12.8% and 10% in the states in moist Savanna zone and 6.4 and 6.2 in humid forest. These differences are significant (p<0.05). In conclusion dietary diversity is poor in Nigeria and efforts to improve nutritional status must address the issue of dietary diversity.
Key Word: diet quality, diet diversity, dietary recall, diet-related diseases