The household share of dietary energy from macronutrients is a household-level indicator based on food consumption or acquisition that quantifies the percentage of caloric intake from the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Some surveys collect data on food consumption and acquisition (a proxy of food consumption) separately, other surveys use both and account for transfers and own production of food (Smith, 2003). All three macronutrients have distinct and important functions in the body, such as proper growth, development, and cognitive and physical functions. Undernutrition, overweight/obesity, and their health implications due to improper macronutrient intake continue to be a major public health concern worldwide (Muller & Krawinkel, 2005).
Method of Construction
Data on food consumption or acquisition type and weight/volume and a Food Composition Database are necessary to estimate calories from each macronutrient for each food consumed. The total grams of each nutrient are added together, distinguishing fiber from other carbohydrates, and the caloric value of each is calculated using the following equation:
Calories (Kcal) = [Protein (g) x 4] + [Fats (g) x 9] + [Av. Carbohydrates (g) x 4] + [Fiber (g) x 2] + [Alcohol (9) x 7]
*Total Carbohydrates = [Available Carbohydrates + Fiber]
** Alcohol is not a macronutrient but contains calories
Finally, the proportion of calories from each macronutrient is calculated by dividing the calories from each macronutrient by the total calories consumed and multiplying by 100 to determine the percentage. An example of how to calculate the household share of dietary energy from fats goes below:
Household share of dietary energy from fats =
[Fats (g) x 9] / [Protein(g) x 4] + [Fats (g) x 9] + [Carbohydrates (g) x 4] + [Fiber (g) x 2] + [Alcohol(g) x 7]
This is one of the several indicators included in the ADePT-FSM (Food Security Module) software package, a free standalone software developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank that allows users to easily derive food security indicators from household survey data. Please also see pages 35-36 of Moltedo et al. (2014) for detailed instructions on the analysis of food security using household survey data, and Moltedo et al. 2018, which offers instructions for using ADePT-FSM to generate diet-related indicators from household data.
This indicator provides an understanding of the overall macronutrient balance of a population's diet. Imbalanced consumption indicates an imbalanced diet (Moltedo et al., 2014). This indicator provides an understanding of trends in energy consumption quantity and quality.
Strengths and Weaknesses
This indicator is easy to interpret and communicate and can be constructed from existing Household Consumption Expenditure Survey data. However, it does not calculate the distribution of macronutrient consumption among members of a household. Another limitation is that it does not provide information on the consumption of micronutrients, which are also essential elements of diet quality. If the data come from household surveys, this indicator cannot be used for individual targeting.
HCES data can be used to calculate this indicator. The World Bank Microdata Library has the most comprehensive and publicly accessible repository of data. National Statistics Office also provides this type of data, for free, though each country has its policies and procedures regarding data access. National or regional Food Composition Tables should be used to identify the nutrient contents of the foods and can be found at FAO's International Network of Food Data (NFOODS) or the Agricultural and Food Systems Initiative World Nutrient Databases for Dietary Studies (WNDDS). In addition, FBS could be used to calculate a similar indicator, such as the national average supply of protein, for use in understanding the macronutrient balance of the national food supply. Alternatively, 24-hour Dietary Recall or Weighed Food Records could be used to calculate total individual macronutrient intake.
Links to Case Studies