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Table 1 Summary of knowledge about the importance and drivers of dietary diversity (DD) from three different sources (local knowledge, scientific knowledge/quantitative results from same study, scientific knowledge/quantitative results from other studies)

From: The determinants of dietary diversity and nutrition: ethnonutrition knowledge of local people in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania

Scientific literature

Quantitative data from the study communities

Qualitative data from local people in this study

Importance of Dietary Diversity

• DD associated with overall food consumption, energy intake and satiety [51, 6469]

• DD associated with dietary quality, nutrient intake, nutrient density (likely explaining links to child growth and other anthropometric and biochemical markers of nutrition) [6871]

• DD associated with overall energy intake [46]

• DD associated with intake of most nutrients and nutrient adequacy (Mean Adequacy Ratio, MAR) [46]

• After controlling for energy intake, DD no longer associated with intake of most nutrients [46]

• DD important for appetite and enjoyment of food

• DD important because “each food has its own value”

Drivers of Dietary Diversity

• DD linked to agrobiodiversity in at least seven studies [46, 52, 7278],

• DD associated with forest cover in three studies [47, 52, 79, 80].

• DD linked to vegetable production [81]

• DD linked to home gardens [52, 82]

• Season may increase/decrease DD [83, 84]

• Wild food use associated with higher DD [54]

• DD also associated with wealth, household size, education and other economic and demographic variables

• DD associated with agrobiodiversity (crop diversity) [46]

• DD associated with forest cover [46, 47].

• No differences in DD between wet and dry season, but difference in sources of foods [46, 48]

• DD associated with wealth and market access but not with sex or education of the head of the household (unpublished data from the study) [46]

• Agriculture, agrobiodiversity

• Land use diversity/landscape heterogeneity

• Different foods eaten seasonally

• Wealth, available cash, land tenure

• Livelihood diversity

• Family size

• Gender

• Personality, family tradition, taboos