Ethiopian Food-Based Dietary Guidelines: Development, Evaluation, and Adherence Monitoring
Food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) promote and maintain healthy eating in a population. However, many African countries like Ethiopia do not have FBDG. This study described the development and evaluation of Ethiopia's first FBDG and healthy eating index (Et-HEI). A multidisciplinary technical working group was established to develop FBDG for the general population above two years of age. Priority diet-related public health problems and risk factors were identified, and a systematic review of diet related to the priority diseases was conducted. The draft guidelines, graphics, and tips were tested for acceptability, cultural appropriateness, understanding, and practicality. Then a healthy diet was developed by closely resembling the current diet while tracking the cost. Finally, the Et-HEI was developed and evaluated for estimating adherence to the FBDG. For a better context-specific FBDG at the community level, the Ethiopian FBDG should be adapted to different cultures, living conditions, and subpopulations, including environmental sustainability.