Among several factors contributing to the occurrence of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overnutrition, and chronic disease, unhealthy diet is one of the most important factors that need to be addressed to tackle the burden in low- and middle-income countries. To maintain healthy eating in a population, it is crucial to develop and implement country-specific food-based dietary guidelines as well as monitor the adherence of the population with the guidelines. The aim of this study is to generate evidence that will help the development and validation of food-based dietary guidelines and a healthy eating index for Ethiopia. The method to develop Ethiopian food-based dietary guidelines is adapted from the 2015 Dutch food-based dietary guidelines and the Dutch healthy diet index development and validation process, and the 1998 FAO/WHO preparation and use of food-based dietary guidelines. A multidisciplinary technical working will be established to develop FBDGs. The working group will identify key messages for the guidelines that can address priority diet-related public health problems in Ethiopia based on the evidence that will be generated by the PhD student from Wageningen University and Research. The evidence generation will begin by identifying top ten diet-related diseases that lead to high morbidity and mortality in 2016. The nutrition situation (nutritional status, dietary pattern, and nutrient gaps) analysis will be conducted to define the objectives of FBDGs. A systematic review will be conducted by formulating research questions to address the objectives of the FBDGs. The FBDGs will be translated for a specific population subgroup using linear mathematical programming and validated for cultural appropriateness, acceptability, consumer understanding and practicality of the messages. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews will be conducted to validate the FBDGs. The most recent Ethiopian national food consumption survey data collected in 2011 will be used to develop a healthy eating index (HEI). The selection of a healthy eating component of HEI will be done based on the FBDGs. Validation of a healthy eating index will be conducted by comparing the HEI score based on 24-hour recall with the HEI score based on food frequency questionnaire for population characteristics and association with micronutrient intake with or without adjusting for energy and anthropometric measurement. Developing short food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that can be scored with the index for dietary counseling and public health practice as well as dietary gap assessment for policy recommendation will be part of the study. Validation of FFQ will be conducted by collecting primary data among women of reproductive age in 500 households in rural and urban areas of Ethiopia. The data will be analyzed using the latest version of STATA, SPSS, and NVIVO software. Correlations and other appropriate advanced statistical technique will be applied as needed to answer the objectives of the study. Ethical approval will be received from the medical ethical committee of Wageningen University and Research and scientific and ethical review office of Ethiopian Public Health Institute. This Ph.D. research is supported by the Food Systems for Healthier Diets flagship of the CGIAR- Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Programme coordinated by International Food Policy Research Institute. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Ethiopian Public Health Institute are collaborators of this project to develop the FBDGs.
Behavioral: Food-based dietary guidelines for healthier diet
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