byFrances Knight
Academy Week Learning Lab
| Nutrition
Date and Time
From: 20 June 2016, 11:00
To: 21 June 2016, 15:00
EAT Eastern African Time GMT+3:00
Country: Ethiopia
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Full Title


Session Overview

Optifood is a software tool that applies linear programming to target group specific dietary intake, food cost, food composition and nutrient requirement data to:

  • Analyse the potential nutritional quality and content of diets for specific target groups based on average consumption patterns and local food supply (i.e. for 12-23mo children from Eastern Uganda, pregnant women from the Guatemalan Western Highlands, adolescent girls from peri-urban Lima, Peru)
  • Determine whether it is possible to meet nutrient requirements for this target group using local foods and identify the nutrient gaps in local diets using the concept of ‘problem nutrients ’
  • Identify the best local food sources of nutrients or alternative nutrient sources (bio fortification, new foods, supplements, fortified foods)
  • Develop, test and cost sets of food based recommendations for the target group that would provide, or come as close as possible to providing nutrient adequacy if put into practice
  • Estimate the financial cost of providing diets that would meet the minimum nutrient requirements for the target group and the content of these diets

These results can be used for informing the design or estimating the potential impact of agricultural interventions, such as intercropping, bio fortification, home gardens or the introduction or amplification of value chains.

Optifood can also be applied in the development of behaviour change interventions for pregnant women, nursing mothers, complementary feeding or other nutritionally vulnerable target groups, to provide evidence for advocacy concerned with food supply and affordability, assist policy decisions and in the development of fortified or other food products.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Presently, it is recommended that Optifood be taught through a 5 day workshop. The half day taster workshop as part of the ANH Academy Learning Labs is designed to enable potential users to learn more about how Optifood can be used to make agricultural programs more nutrition sensitive. The overall aim of the workshop is to build sufficient understanding of the data requirements, use, outputs and potential applications of Optifood to enable rich discussion regarding the possible value of Optifood to ANH Academy members working in Agriculture and Nutrition.

The specific objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Introduce participants to the Optifood tool and its key functions
  • Demonstrate the application of the Optifood tool to either 24hr recall data or HCES data for 1-3 specific target groups to identify problem nutrients, best food sources to fill nutrient gaps and food-based recommendations to improve nutrient intake
  • Discuss key contextual issues such as dietary patterns, food list inclusions, food availability and acceptability
  • Discuss the potential applications of the Optifood analysis results in the current work/interest area of workshop participants

Target Audience

Researchers with some nutrition knowledge, who are used to looking at and managing data and interested in learning about the possible applications of Optifood for agriculture and nutrition programs

Level & Prerequisites 


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