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Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W): A Guide to Measurement

This guide for measuring women’s dietary diversity, recently published by FAO and FANTA III with the support of EU and USAID respectively, intends to provide detailed guidance on its use and application along with information on common-pitfalls.

The Minimum Dietary Diversity – Women (MDD-W) indicator was endorsed by representatives of academia, international research institutes (e.g. IFPRI), UN (e.g. WFP and UNICEF) and donor agencies at a consensus meeting held in July 2014 in Washington DC (see

The MDD-W is a dichotomous indicator of whether or not women at 15-49 years of age have consumed at least five out of ten defined food groups the previous day or night. The proportion of women at 15-49 years of age who reach this minimum in a population can be used as a proxy indicator for higher micronutrient adequacy, one important dimension of diet quality. This indicator can be generated from population-based surveys. It provides a new tool for assessment, target-setting, and advocacy.

Frequently asked questions and additional resources related to the MDD-W are available on the FANTA and FAO websites.

More information on FAO’s recent developments in nutrition assessment and in supporting countries to develop capacity in collecting national dietary information, can be found at:

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