The Cost of the Diet

A novel tool for understanding the barriers to improving child nutrition.

August 2009

FREE

The Cost of the Diet (CoD) is an exciting new tool developed by Save the Children UK, as part of our work to reduce child malnutrition.

The CoD calculates the cost of the cheapest diet that meets the nutritional requirements of families using just the foods available locally. This data is combined with information developed by interviewing members of households about what they eat and how they live (called Household Economy Approach assessments).

It can also be used to estimate the proportion of households in a region that are unable to afford a nutritious diet, as well as the size of the gap between current income and the amount of money needed to meet the needs of a household.

It provides a unique perspective on seasonal changes in nutrition security and can be used to highlight which vitamins and minerals are lacking in the diets of poor families.

The CoD is intended to be used to inform programme design, as part of baseline assessments and alongside nutrition/food security surveillance. We envisage that the CoD will continue to be developed and improved based on the experiences of those who use it. We welcome feedback on it. We're also keen to collaborate with other organizations on its use. Comprehensive CoD guidelines and analysis software are available on request.

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