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Open AccessArticle

Nutritionally Optimized, Culturally Acceptable, Cost-Minimized Diets for Low Income Ghanaian Families Using Linear Programming

1
Institute for Nursing and Nutrition, Faculty of Health, Global Nutrition and Health, University College Copenhagen, Sigurdsgade 26, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
2
Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, University of Ghana, LG 13 Legon, Accra, Ghana
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10040461
Received: 11 March 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
The Ghanaian population suffers from a double burden of malnutrition. Cost of food is considered a barrier to achieving a health-promoting diet. Food prices were collected in major cities and in rural areas in southern Ghana. Linear programming (LP) was used to calculate nutritionally optimized diets (food baskets (FBs)) for a low-income Ghanaian family of four that fulfilled energy and nutrient recommendations in both rural and urban settings. Calculations included implementing cultural acceptability for families living in extreme and moderate poverty (food budget under USD 1.9 and 3.1 per day respectively). Energy-appropriate FBs minimized for cost, following Food Balance Sheets (FBS), lacked key micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin B12 and iron for the mothers. Nutritionally adequate FBs were achieved in all settings when optimizing for a diet cheaper than USD 3.1. However, when delimiting cost to USD 1.9 in rural areas, wild foods had to be included in order to meet nutritional adequacy. Optimization suggested to reduce roots, tubers and fruits and to increase cereals, vegetables and oil-bearing crops compared with FBS. LP is a useful tool to design culturally acceptable diets at minimum cost for low-income Ghanaian families to help advise national authorities how to overcome the double burden of malnutrition. View Full-Text
Keywords: linear programming; food baskets; non-communicable diseases; cost of diet; food accessibility linear programming; food baskets; non-communicable diseases; cost of diet; food accessibility
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Nykänen, E.-P.A.; Dunning, H.E.; Aryeetey, R.N.O.; Robertson, A.; Parlesak, A. Nutritionally Optimized, Culturally Acceptable, Cost-Minimized Diets for Low Income Ghanaian Families Using Linear Programming. Nutrients 2018, 10, 461.

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