Determinants of dietary diversity and the potential role of men in improving household nutrition in Tanzania. uri icon

abstract

  • Good nutrition is a prerequisite for a healthy and active life, especially for agriculture-dependent households. However, diets in most households in Tanzania lack diversity because the intake of meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables and fruits is low. This study estimates factors influencing dietary diversity of the household, children under five years, and women using primary survey data. It qualitatively assesses male dietary patterns and men's potential role in improving the nutritional status of the entire household. The findings show that the most consumed foods within the household are cereals, vegetables, oils and fats, spices, condiments and beverages. Children (d = 0.4; p<0.05) and women (d = 0.5; p<0.01) in female-headed households have low dietary diversity compared to those in male-headed households. Women and children access less diverse diets since 46% and 26%, achieved minimum dietary diversity respectively. Production of vegetables (coef. 0.34; p<0.05) play an important role in improving the dietary diversity of women. Gender (coef. 0.05; p<0.10) and education of the household head (coef. 0.02; p<0.01), food preparation and nutrition training (coef. 0.10; p<0.05) are important factors influencing dietary diversity of the members of a household. Results suggest that there is a need to support community-based programs to provide information on food and the importance of vegetables, their preparation, consumption and utilization to address food and nutrition challenges. Men can contribute towards improving household nutrition security by reducing consumption of food away from the home, especially during periods of food shortages. We recommend the use of complementary quantitative research to determine the patterns and dynamics of men's dietary diversity and compare it with that of other household members.

publication date

  • 2017
  • 2017