Nutrition data use and needs: Findings from an online survey of global nutrition stakeholders

Audrey J. Buckland, Andrew L. Thorne-Lyman, Tricia Aung, Shannon E. King, Renee Manorat, Laura Becker, Ellen Piwoz, Rahul Rawat, Rebecca Heidkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background There is growing global demand for country-specific information to track nutritional status and its determinants, including intervention coverage. Periodic population-based surveys form the backbone of most national nutrition information systems. However, data on the coverage of many nutrition specific and sensitive interventions remain sparse. Methods An online survey was administered to the international nutrition community in 2018 through relevant listservs and professional networks to characterize their use of nutrition-related indicators and data sources. Respondents were asked about their professional background, access and use of specific indicators and data sources in the previous year, and unmet data needs. Results were tabulated by respondent characteristics and-2 tests used for statistical testing. Results Complete survey responses were received from 235 respondents, the majority from non-governmental organizations and research communities, and few from governments. Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) were the most frequently accessed country-specific data source and the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) was the most accessed consolidated data source, each accessed by approximately 75% of respondents. Respondents with a multi-country focus were more likely to have accessed DHS than those with a single-country focus (85% vs 60%, P < 0.001). Similarly, respondents with a multi-country focus were more likely to have accessed the GNR compared to those with a single-country focus (82% vs 66%, P < 0.05). The most commonly accessed indicators overall were the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding (69%), child minimum dietary diversity (66%), under-5 stunting (65%), and under-5 wasting (65%). Reported data gaps included adult and household diet quality indicators (n = 32), nutrition-sensitive intervention coverage (n = 25), and infant and young child feeding promotion coverage (n = 11). Lack of data availability for the desired geographic level (82%) or demographic group of interest (82%) and out-of-date data (77%) were common data challenges experienced by respondents. Conclusions The survey results highlight the continued need for high-quality, actionable nutrition data to help facilitate progress towards national and global nutrition targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number020403
JournalJournal of global health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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