How dietary intake has been assessed in African countries? A systematic review

Catarina Vila-Real*, Ana Pimenta-Martins, Ana Maria Gomes, Elisabete Pinto, Ndegwa Henry Maina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dietary patterns are often considered as one of the main causes of non-communicable diseases worldwide. It is of utmost importance to study dietary habits in developing countries since this work is scarce. Objective: To summarize the most recent research conducted in this field in African countries, namely the most used methodologies and tools. Methods: A systematic review was conducted on MEDLINE®/PubMed, aiming to identify scientific publications focused on studies of dietary intake of different African populations, in a ten-year period. Papers not written in English/Portuguese/Spanish, studies developed among African people but not developed in African countries, studies aiming to assess a particular nutrient/specific food/food toxin and studies that assessed dietary intake among children were excluded. Findings: Out of 99 included studies, the 24-hour recall and the food-frequency questionnaire were the most used dietary intake assessment tools, used to assess diet at an individual level. It was also observed that often country-unspecific food composition databases are used, and the methodologies employed are poorly validated and standardized. Conclusions: There is an emergent need to improve the existing food databases by updating food data and to develop suitable country-specific databases for those that do not have their own food composition table.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1022
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2018


  • 24-hour recall
  • African countries
  • Dietary intake assessment tools
  • Food composition databases
  • Food-frequency questionnaire


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