A Standardized Central Resource for Assembling and Managing Dietary Reference Data
The Global Food Matters Database is a unique centralized resource for assembling dietary reference data needed to conduct timely and actionable research on diets and food systems in low- and middle-income countries.
This appreciating resource is a home for crowdsourced, detailed datasets that include national and regional food lists, recipes and ingredients, nutrient information, and conversion factors; the dietary reference data are seamlessly integrated with tools such as the INDDEX24 Mobile App that permit streamlined collection and analysis of dietary survey data.
Why is open access dietary reference data important?
The time and costs associated with the compilation of dietary reference data constitute the greatest barrier to frequent implementation of dietary surveys. The Global Food Matters Database enables open access and sharing of national and regional dietary reference data among users, thereby reducing time and cost of preparing for dietary surveys. Sharing of dietary reference data in a harmonized format via a centrally accessible portal will improve access to these important survey inputs, streamline preparations, and reduce the time from data collection to decision-making.
Investment in dietary reference data supports program and policy decision-making beyond conducting quantitave dietary recall surveys. Governments and individual researchers can access this information for a wide range of purposes including locating food composition tables for nutrient analysis; updating and maintaining food and recipe lists, quantification aids, and food descriptors; and conducting cross-country analyses. Researchers working with household consumption and expenditure surveys or food balance data can also benefit from using dietary reference data from the Global Food Matters Database for food and nutrient analyses.
The Global Food Matters Database includes four types of dietary reference data with source documentation:
Food Composition Data, which include the following:
- A list of foods in the country, region, or survey-specific context
- FAO/WHO GIFT food group name and code
- Up to 152 components and nutrients for each food
Recipe Data, which include the following:
- Recipes in the country, region, or survey-specific context, and their codes
- Lists of ingredients, with their codes, within each recipe and their proportions
Portion Conversion Data, which include the following:
- Portion size estimation methods assigned to each food and recipe in the database
- Edible portion coefficients
- Density factors needed to calculate conversion factors for foods and recipes quantified using proxy conversion methods
- Final conversion factor (calculation varies by portion size estimation method used)
Tag and Descriptor Data, which include the following:
- User-defined categories ('tags') of different food attributes (e.g., cooking method, fat content, brand name)
- User-defined descriptors that are associated with each tag
- When using the INDDEX24 Mobile App to conduct a dietary survey, the tag and descriptor data are used as probes to obtain more details about foods consumed in a systematic way