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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2017

Dietary diversity scores: an indicator of micronutrient inadequacy instead of obesity for Chinese children

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2017
Wenzhi Zhao, Kai Yu, Shengjie Tan, Yingdong Zheng, Ai Zhao, Peiyu Wang, Yumei Zhang



Micronutrient malnutrition affects the well-being of both adults and children. Dietary diversity score (DDS) is a useful evaluation index with a relatively well-developed guideline by FAO. It’s meaningful to assess and predict inadequate micronutrient intakes using DDS in Chinese children, after ruling out the risk of obesity coming with more dietary diversity.


Data for evaluation were extracted from the Nutrition Study of Preschool Children and School Children, which is a cross-sectional study covering 8 cities of China, including 1694 children in kindergartens and primary schools. This study applied DDS to Chinese children to test the validity for micronutrient inadequacy, and then explored the relationship between dietary diversity and obesity.


It reveals that dietary diversity varied with age and place of residence; the older ones and the ones living in rural areas tend to have poorer dietary diversity. Another discovery is that DDS is positively correlated with indicators of micronutrient adequacy, with a score of 6–8 indicating the lowest risk of micronutrient inadequacy in different groups of children. In our study population, dietary diversity is not related with obesity.


Dietary diversity score is a valid indicator to evaluate micronutrient inadequacy in Chinese children, though there is still room for improvement of the method. Besides, the relationship between increase of dietary diversity and risk of obesity should be treated circumspectly.
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