Nutritional Assessment and Analyses

Food and Nutrition Surveillance and Response
in Emergencies
Session 11
Nutritional Assessment
and Analyses
Main Nutritional Assessment Methods
 Anthropometry: wt, ht, MUAC, (mainly for
<5yrs since they are sensitive to factors
influencing nutritional status-illness/ food
 Biochemical Methods
 Clinical Assessment
 Dietary Methods
Nutritional Surveillance
Is the process of monitoring changes in the
nutritional status of a population over a
period of time.
Nutrition surveillance involves Data collection,
processing, Analyses, Interpretation and
Purpose of nutritional Surveillance
Nutrition data is a vital indicator for the overall health
and welfare of populations especially where regular
demographic and health surveys are lacking.
Surveillance data is critical for making decisions that
will assist in improved nutrition outcomes of a
population e.g. when to start or phase out a nutrition
intervention such as supplementary feeding
Nutrition data can be used in crisis mitigation
especially as an early warning indicator to respond
to threats such as droughts or disease outbreaks.
Data collected assists in providing baseline
information on nutrition, socio-economic
factors, demographic characteristics, food
security and cultural aspects of a population
Information is important for decision making
on program planning, management,
monitoring and evaluation
Type of data
Quantitative: numeric
Qualitative: Narrative (to supplement the
quantitative data) – FGD, formal (in-depth)
and informal interviews of key informants,
case studies, observation,
Principle Users
Communities involved in the design, planning
and management of nutrition related
Government authorities and Non
Governmental Organizations supporting food
security, health and nutrition related
Food Aid agencies e.g. WFP, CARE
Industries addressing nutrition and health
related issues
Nutrition Surveillance in Somalia by FSAU
utilizes diverse range of information sources
to develop an efficient and effective nutrition
surveillance system. These are, nutrition
surveys, health facilities, rapid assessment,
and sentinel sites.
A nutritional survey is a method by which
information is obtained concerning the
nutritional status of a population or a
subgroup. Such information is collected by
asking nutrition related questions in an
interview to a representative sample of the
Steps in conducting survey
Planning the survey
Administering the survey: partner contacts,
training and tool pre-testing, data collection,
data management, report and presentation
(quality control maintained in all steps).
Planning Survey
A review of the existing information
related to the anticipated survey area
Identify survey goals and objectives:
Identify survey indicators
Selecting survey methodology
Select survey sample
Survey plan (cont’)
Liaising with partners: roles &
 Data collection tools and instrument
 Pre-testing the tools
 Data collection
NB: quality control ensured at all levels
Typical survey designs include:
Longitudinal survey: data is collected for the same
population over a long period of time. Longitudinal
studies are useful in establishing trends over a long
period of time
Cross-sectional surveys: This is one of the
commonly used survey designs that looks into
population issues at a given point in time.
In emergency: Cross sectional survey mainly used.
Sampling methods are:
Two Stage Cluster sampling
Random sampling
Systematic sampling
Stratified sampling
When to conduct Survey
At the beginning of a nutrition project cycle to
provide baseline information for program
During initial phase of emergency situation to
measure nutritional status and plan a short
term response
During the course of the nutrition program to
assess and monitor the impact
monitor progress (regular monitoring of the
At the end of the project circle to evaluate its
extent and impact
Any other time deemed necessary to
establish a baseline.
Type of info. in surveys
Demographic – HH details, residential status
Socio-economic issues: income, food source,
coping strategies, water source, hygiene
Anthropometric measurements
Intervention coverage
Food consumption
Quality control measures
Thorough training of staff plus pre-testing of tools (interpretation
of the questionnaires, if necessary)
Standardization tests- Intra-personal/ interpersonal errors
Close monitoring of the field work by qualified persons
Cross-checking of the field questionnaires for anomaly daily
Daily review of enumerator experiences and problems
Progress review per plan and by checklist
Data cleaning: collection, entry,
Integrity of equipments: maintain accuracy using known weights
Health Facility
Summary of anthropometric measurements of <5yrs,
morbidity and EPI from MCH collected
The MCH are located in vast vulnerable area
Data collected from it serve as early indicator in case
of crises.
HF data indicates trends in malnutrition rates over a
period of time
N.B. Data from HF is not representative of the entire
population and it’s biased since only the sick or
those who can access the health facility are
Key issues in site based surveillance
Importance of carrying out surveillance
Anthropometric data- quality of data/integrity
of equipment and staff quality
Recording and interpreting measurements
Clinical diagnosis: obvious micronutrient
deficiency- VAD, anaemia, IDD
Causes of malnutrition
Rapid Assessment
Mainly carried out on ad hoc bases.
Useful when:
 When nutrition information are fast needed
 When resources of carrying out Nutrition survey are
 MUAC is usually used. Additional methods include:
FGD, Key informant interview, observation (transect
walks), seasonal calendars and Case study.
Steps in planning a rapid assessment
Define objectives (who to assess-children,
women, why),
Determine target site/area/population
Develop appropriate method of data
collection: representative
Staff identification and training (involve the
existing authority)
Materials and equipment
Type of information
MUAC measurements: adults (women), <5yr
Food availability and accessibility
Water sources
Common diseases- how are recent trends
Access to health services/ other interventions
Livestock and population movement- destinations/
origin of emigrants
Type of food consumed/freq. of feeding
Security situation
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