Measuring What the World Eats- Global Diet Quality Project

Ty Beal, Anna Herforth, and Gina Kennedy
GAIN, Gallup, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

Do global eating patterns lead to good or bad health outcomes? 'Measuring What the World Eats' a new report by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Gallup and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health answers this question and more.

This project aims to collect dietary quality data in the general adult population across countries worldwide, and to provide the tools for valid and feasible diet quality monitoring within countries. The project enables the collection of consistent, comparable dietary data across countries for the first time.

Diet—the food people eat—is a central component of health and well-being. Poor diet and malnutrition are the main drivers of ill health and premature mortality, with negative spillover effects on the environment and economy. What we eat is related to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Monitoring diet quality globally is thus essential for accountability to nutrition, health, and global development goals. Yet there has been no way of monitoring diet quality in a credible, affordable, and timely way.

The Global Diet Quality Project offers a new approach that enables countries to track diet quality. The project’s Diet Quality Questionnaire (DQQ) allows users to investigate both diet adequacy and diet components that protect against or increase risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Working with the Gallup World Poll data collection platform, the project has assembled the first round of diet quality data
for over 40 countries in 2021 and aims to collect data for 140 countries. 13 countries profiles including the United States will be published in the near future.

The Global Diet Quality Project is a global public good and the data is already being incorporated into various databases including the Food Systems Dashboard so that it can be accessible to the decisionmakers and leaders.

Some of the key insights from the report:

  • Fewer than half of people are consuming diets that contain all the recommended food groups. This is typically worse in rural areas in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Micronutrient inadequacy in women in low- and middle-income countries is higher in rural areas and among poorer people.
  • Men consume more unhealthy foods and fewer foods that protect their health. This pattern is driven by higher consumption of soft drinks, processed meats, and deep-fried foods among men than women.

Access the Resources


This resource has been peer reviewed