The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing, while undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies persist. Lack of available data on diets is a key obstacle to the development of evidence-based policies and programs to address the double burden of malnutrition and other emerging nutrition challenges in low- and middle-income countries.
Having data on what people eat is crucial for the design of effective, evidenced-based nutrition interventions. To increase the availability and use of reliable data, we established Intake, a center for dietary assessment that builds upon our deep history of developing nutrition indicators and assessments through the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III (FANTA) project and other projects. The center develops assessment technology and tools and provides technical support in their use, including technical assistance for conducting population-level dietary assessment surveys. Intake is currently providing direct support to eight countries.
The center developed the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale and the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women indicators among others, and more recent accomplishments include the development and rollout of the Global Diet Quality Score (GDQS). The GDQS is the first comprehensive metric of diet quality validated for global use that assesses a diet that is adequate in nutrients and protective against the risk of diet-related noncommunicable diseases.
Through Intake, we host and manage the INDDEX24 Dietary Assessment Platform, developed by the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and provide technical support for the use of the platform and the INDDEX23 mobile app, which is a global, technology-assisted tool that provides a streamlined approach to collect quantitative 24-hour dietary recall data.
Finally, we have developed several influential guides and tools for nutrition assessment, including the widely utilized Body Mass Index (BMI) Wheel and BMI-for-Age Look-up tables created through the FANTA project.