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Open Access Recommendations for improving Guatemala's food fortification program based on household income and expenditure survey (HIES) data

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Background. Fortification offers great potential for reducing the enormous disease burden of micronutrient deficiencies. The lack of information on food consumption patterns has been a major impediment to the development of fortification programs. In some countries, the absence of this information has been an obstacle to the introduction of fortification. In countries that have fortification, governments are increasingly being challenged to provide evidence that programs are well designed and effective.

Objective. To examine the usefulness of household income and expenditure surveys (HIES) as a means for addressing this information gap and making fortification programs more evidence-based and more accountable.

Methods. Data from Guatemala's 2005/6 Living Standards Measurement Survey are used to develop a measure of “apparent food consumption.” The measure is used to assess Guatemala's fortification program by analyzing the coverage and the additional micronutrient intake attributable to different food vehicles, combinations of food vehicles, and fortification formulations.

Results. There are three key findings. The impact of the wheat flour fortification program is considerably greater than had previously been estimated; the level at which sugar is currently fortified with vitamin A may be excessive and should be reviewed; and fortifying semolina flour (used to make pasta) would extend the benefits of wheat flour fortification to 60,000 households that currently do not benefit from it and would increase the amount of fortified food consumed by 68% of the population. Beneficiaries would include 63% of the extreme poor, and the greatest benefits would go to those wheat flour consumers who currently benefit the least from consuming fortified wheat flour products.

Conclusions. HIES data should be used more routinely as a tool in the designing, monitoring, and assessing of fortification programs.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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