Association Between Dietary Diversity Score and
Nutritional Status of Filipino Children Aged 6-23 Months

Mildred L. Ocampo-Guirindola, Cristina J. Garcia-Malabad,
Ma. Lynell M. Valdeabella-Maniego, and Sheila Luz M. Punzalan

Nutritional Assessment and Monitoring Division, Food and Nutrition Research Institute,
Department of Science and Technology, Bicutan, Taguig City, Philippines

corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Starting at six months, the quality of diet already plays a vital role in the nutritional adequacy and nutritional status of children 6-23 months old. This cross-sectional study aimed to test the association between food intake quality, as measured by dietary diversity score, and nutritional status of a child based on a one-day food recall. Data on 4,276 children aged 6-23 months were obtained from the June-December 2011 Updating of Nutritional Status of Filipino Children and Other Population Groups surveyed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST). Children with four or more dietary diversity scores were classified as “meeting” the minimum dietary diversity (MDD) while those with less than four as “not meeting” the MDD. Bivariate analysis using Chi-square test was performed on selected child, maternal, and household characteristics to determine the associated predictors of MDD while multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the association between nutritional status and MDD and other predictors. Results showed that MDD was associated with underweight and wasting/thinness but not with stunting. Meeting the MDD was protective against underweight (Odds Ratio (OR)=0.80, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.64-1.00) and wasting/thinness (OR= 0.62, 95% CI 0.46-0.82). Aside from not meeting the MDD, factors that increased the child’s odds of becoming underweight were: child’s age at 9-11months (OR=1.83) and 12-23 months (OR=2.17); household food insecurity (OR=1.89); and the mother being the primary caregiver (OR 1.30). Meanwhile, household food insecurity (OR=1.44) and child’s age at 9-11 months (OR 1.35) increased the probability of the child being wasted/thin. MDD, as a measure of the quality of complementary food, warrants further investigation as a potential assessment tool that can be used to evaluate the dietary intake of children aged 6-23 months.



Breast milk alone can no longer satisfy a child’s requirement for energy and nutrients by the time the child reached the age of six months. The increased nutrient requirements for rapid growth and development during the critical period from six months to two years of age, coupled with inadequate diet, predispose these children to undernutrition. . . . read more