Dietary diversity and associated factors among pregnant women in urban Northern Ghana

  • Ambrose Atosona Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences
  • Zakari Ali Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences
  • Abdulai Abubakari Department of Global and International Health, School of Public Health, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
  • Anthony Wemakor Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences
  • Mahama Saaka Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences
Keywords: dietary diversity, women, pregnancy, nutrition, Northern Ghana


Background: Though low dietary diversity during pregnancy results in low nutrient intake and adverse pregnancy outcomes, information on dietary diversity and its associated factors among pregnant women in Ghana particularly Northern Ghana is scanty. This study therefore assessed dietary diversity and associated socio-demographic characteristics among pregnant women in urban Northern Ghana.
Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study design was used, involving 273 pregnant women randomly selected from 8 health facilities in Tamale Metropolis and Sagnarigu Municipality. Socio-demographic characteristics of participants were documented using a structured questionnaire. Dietary diversity of participants was assessed using a 24 hour dietary recall method and the dietary diversity score was calculated based on ten food groups. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression analysis were used to identify the factors associated with low dietary diversity.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 26.44 ±5.75 years with minimum and maximum ages of 16 and 44 years respectively. About 48% of the women had low dietary diversity. The mean dietary diversity score was 4.87 ± 2.04. Having no education at all [Odds Ratio (OR) = 5.5; 95% CI (2.09 –14.31); p = 0.001] and having only primary education [OR = 3.8; 95% CI (1.21 –12.09); p < 0.022] were significantly associated with low dietary diversity.
Conclusion: The study revealed that the prevalence of low dietary diversity is high among pregnant women in urban Northern Ghana. Improving the educational level of women is recommended to improve their dietary diversity.

Annals of Medical Laboratory Science (2022) 2(2), 55 - 62


Abubakari A, Jahn A (2016). Maternal Dietary Patterns and Practices and Birth Weight in Northern Ghana. PLoS ONE, 11 (9):e0162285.

Abu-Saad K, Fraser D (2010). Maternal nutrition and birth outcomes. Epidemiologic reviews:mxq001.

Ali F, Thaver L and Khan S. A. (2014). Assessment of dietary diversity and nutritional status of pregnant women in Islamabad, Pakistan, J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad, vol. 26, no. 4, p. 506–9.

Amugsi DA, Lartey A, Kimani-Murage E, Mberu BU (2016). Women’s participation in household decision-making and higher dietary diversity: findings from nationally representative data from Ghana. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 35(1):16.

Arimond M, Wiesmann D, Becquey E, Carriquiry A, Daniels MC, Deitchler M, Fanou-Fogny N, Joseph ML, Kennedy G, Martin-Prevel Y (2010). Simple food group diversity indicators predict micronutrient adequacy of women’s diets in 5 diverse, resource-poor settings. The Journal of Nutrition, 140 (11):2059S-2069S.

Burchi F, De Muro P. (2007). Education for rural people: a neglected key to food security. WORKING PAPERS, 78.

Clausen T, Charlton KE, Gobotswang KSM, Holmboe-Ottesen G.(2005). Predictors of food variety and dietary diversity among older persons in Botswana. Nutr., 21(1):86–95.

FAO (2016). Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women A Guide to Measurement. In. Rome: FAO; 2016.

Hatloy A, Torheim LE, Oshaug A. (1998). Food variety-a good indicator of nutritional adequacy of the diet? A case study from an urban in Mali, West Africa. Eur J Clin Nutr. 52:891–898.

Kennedy GL, Pedro MR, Seghieri C, Nantel G, Brouwer I (2007). Dietary diversity score is a useful indicator of micronutrient intake in non-breast-feeding Filipino children. The Journal of nutrition, 137(2):472-477.

Kiboi W, Kimiywe J, Chege P. (2017). Determinants of dietary diversity among pregnant women in Laikipia County, Kenya: a cross-sectional study. BMC Nutrition, 3(1):12.

King JC (2000). Physiology of pregnancy and nutrient metabolism. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(5):1218s-1225s.

Lee SE, Talegawkar SA, Merialdi M, Caulfield LE (2013). Dietary intakes of women during pregnancy in low-and middle-income countries. Public health nutrition, 16(08): 1340-1353.

Negin J, Burchi F, Fanzo J. (2011). Ensuring food security through integration of agriculture, nutrition and health programs: Reexamining research and policy. J Agr Food Syst Community Dev. 14(2):234-239.

Neggers Y, Goldenberg RL.(2003). Some thoughts on body mass index, micronutrient intakes and pregnancy outcome. J Nutr, 133(5Suppl 2):1737S-40S.

Ruel MT (2003). Is dietary diversity an indicator of food security or dietary quality? A review of measurement issues and research needs. Food and nutrition bulletin, 24(2):231-232.

Saaka M (2013). Maternal dietary diversity and infant outcome of pregnant women in Northern Ghana. International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition, 1(2):148-156.

Saaka M, Oladele J, Larbi A, Hoeschle-Zeledon I. (2017). Dietary Diversity Is Not Associated with Haematological Status of Pregnant Women Resident in Rural Areas of Northern Ghana. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 8497892.

Sukchan P, Liabsuetrakul T, Chongsuvivatwong V, Songwathana P, Sornsrivichai V, Kuning M. (2010). Inadequacy of nutrients intake among pregnant women in the deep south of Thailand. BMC Public Health, 10(1):572.

Tabachnick B. G., Fidell L. S. (2007). Using Multivariate Statistics, 5th Edition ed., New York: Allyn and Bacon.

Taruvinga A, Muchenje V, Mushunje A. (2013). Determinants of rural household dietary diversity: The case of Amatole and Nyandeni districts, South Africa. Int J Dev Sustainability 2013, 2:2233-2247.

Tavakoli S, Dorosty-Motlagh A, Hoshiar-Rad A, Eshraghian M, Sotoudeh G, Azadbakht L, Karimi Mand Jalali-Farahani S. (2016). Is dietary diversity a proxy measurement of nutrient adequacy in Iranian elderly women?, Appetite, vol. 105, pp. 468-76.

Torheim LE, Barikmo I, Parr CL. et al. (2003). Validation of food variety as an indicator of diet quality assessed with a food frequency questionnaire for western Mali. Eur J Clin Nutr, 57:1283–1291.

Torheim LE, Ferguson EL, Penrose K, Arimond M (2010). Women in resource-poor settings are at risk of inadequate intakes of multiple micronutrients. The Journal of nutrition, 140 (11):2051S-2058S.

United Nation Systems (2009). "Fact sheets on Food and Nutrition Security Indicators/Measures: dietary diversity," United Nation Systems. [Online]. Available: [Accessed April2018].

Zainal Badari SA, Arcot J, Haron SA, Paim L, Sulaiman N, Masud J. (2012). Food variety and dietary diversity scores to understand the food-intake pattern among selected Malaysian households. Ecol Food Nutr., 51 (4):265–99.
How to Cite
Atosona, A., Ali, Z., Abubakari, A., Wemakor, A., & Saaka, M. (2022). Dietary diversity and associated factors among pregnant women in urban Northern Ghana. Annals of Medical Laboratory Science, 2(2), 55-62.