The household share of dietary energy consumption from macronutrients is a household-level indicator that quantifies the percentage of caloric intake from the three major macronutrient groups – protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These three macronutrients have distinct and important functions in the body, and all are necessary for proper growth, development and cognitive and physical functioning. Both undernutrition and overweight/obesity due to improper macronutrient intake, and the related health complications, continue to be a major health concern in the developing world (Muller & Krawinkel, 2005).
Method of Construction
In order to estimate calories from the three macronutrients, data must be collected from a Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey (HCES) that includes not just which foods were consumed, but also amount of food consumed. Then, using food type and the weight/volume consumed, a food composition database is used to estimate the amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates (distinguishing between fiber and other forms of carbohydrates). The total grams of each nutrient are added together, and the caloric value of each is calculated using the following equation:
Calories(Kcal) = [Protein(g)∗4] + [Fats(g)∗9] + [Av. Carbohydrates(g)∗4] + [Fiber(g)∗2 ] + [Alcohol(g)∗7]
*Note in this equation, Total Carbohydrates = [Available Carbohydrates + Fiber]
Finally, the proportion of calories from each macronutrient is calculated by dividing the calories from each by the total calories consumed.
This indicator is one of several indicators included in the ADePT-FSM (Food Security Module) software package, which is a free standalone software developed by the FAO and the World Bank that allows users to easily derive food security indicators from household survey data. The software download and corresponding documentation can be found on the FAO website, here. Please also see the Moltedo et al. 2014 book published by the World Bank, which provides detailed instructions for analyzing food security using household survey data. For more information on calculating this indicator, refer to the “Standardization Procedures” on page 20 in the Moltedo et al. 2014 World Bank document.
This measure of diet quality provides an understanding of how balanced households’ diets are, as consuming disproportionately low or high amounts of energy from a given macronutrient may be a sign of underconsumption and overconsumption (Moltedo et al., 2014). Additionally, this indicator could add richness to the understanding of trends in changing energy consumption, providing information on not just the quantity but also the quality of the consumed calories. Household consumption of energy by macronutrient is a common indicator used to assess population-level diet quality, used with frequency by the FAO and UNICEF and is appropriate for population-level targeting and monitoring and evaluation (UNICEF, 2010).
Strengths and Weaknesses
This household level indicator reflects an important aspect of dietary quality. An additional strength of this indicator is that it can easily be constructed from existing HCES data, and is easy to communicate and interpret. However, as a household level indicator, it does not speak to distribution of calories among members. Another drawback of this indicator is that it does not provide information on the consumption of micronutrients, which are also essential elements of diet quality. Because the data come from household surveys, this indicator cannot be used for individual targeting.
Household Consumption and Expenditure Survey (HCES) data can be used to construct this indicator. Foods should be grouped into “staple” and “non-staple" foods, where staple foods are defined as cereals, roots, and tubers, and all other foods should be defined as non-staples (Smith and Subandoro 2007). National or regional Food Composition Tables should be used to identify the nutrient contents of the foods and can be found at Food and Agriculture’s (FAO) International Network of Food Data Systems (INFOODS) or the International Life Science Institute’s (ILSI) CatFCDB.
There are no links to validation studies to show for this indicator.