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Food composition tables in resource-poor settings: Exploring current limitations and opportunities, with a focus on animal-source foods in sub-Saharan Africa

Food composition tables in resource-poor settings: Exploring current limitations and opportunities, with a focus on animal-source foods in sub-Saharan Africa

De Bruyn, Julia ORCID: 0000-0001-5222-6464, Ferguson, Elaine, Allman-Farinelli, Margaret, Darnton-Hill, Ian, Maulaga, Wende, Msuya, John and Alders, Robyn (2016) Food composition tables in resource-poor settings: Exploring current limitations and opportunities, with a focus on animal-source foods in sub-Saharan Africa. British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (10). pp. 1709-1719. ISSN 0007-1145 (Print), 1475-2662 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114516003706)

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Abstract

Animal-source foods (ASF) have the potential to enhance the nutritional adequacy of cereal-based diets in low- and middle-income countries, through the provision of high-quality protein and bioavailable micronutrients. The development of guidelines for including ASF in local diets requires an understanding of the nutrient content of available resources. This article reviews food composition tables (FCT) used in sub-Saharan Africa, examining the spectrum of ASF reported and exploring data sources for each reference. Compositional data are shown to be derived from a small number of existing data sets from analyses conducted largely in high-income nations, often many decades previously. There are limitations in using such values, which represent the products of intensively raised animals of commercial breeds, as a reference in resource-poor settings where indigenous breed livestock are commonly reared in low-input production systems, on mineral-deficient soils and not receiving nutritionally balanced feed. The FCT examined also revealed a lack of data on the full spectrum of ASF, including offal and wild foods, which correspond to local food preferences and represent valuable dietary resources in food-deficient settings. Using poultry products as an example, comparisons are made between compositional data from three high-income nations, and potential implications of differences in the published values for micronutrients of public health significance, including Fe, folate and vitamin A, are discussed. It is important that those working on nutritional interventions and on developing dietary recommendations for resource-poor settings understand the limitations of current food composition data and that opportunities to improve existing resources are more actively explored and supported.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Authors 2016. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food security, Under-nutrition, Animal-source foods, Food composition tables, Nutrition-sensitive interventions
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 14:26
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19496

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