Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book
Title Identifying the household factors, and food items, most important to nutrition in Vanuatu
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Publisher FAO
URL http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/sap/docs/Household%20nutrition%20analysis%20Vanuatu%202015.​pdf
Improving the availability of lower cost, nutritionally superior diet has been identified as critical
to improving food security, and health, in the Pacific.1 Identifying the household and
environmental factors contributing most to poor dietary outcomes, and the food items and
quantities required for a nutritious diet, will assist policy-makers in this region to design
targeted interventions to improve the cost and level of access at which households can access
an improved diet.
This paper uses empirical methods to identify households most at risk of poor nutrition
outcomes in Vanuatu, using microdata from the Household Income and Expenditure Survey
(2010). It first establishes the average daily intake levels of energy and micronutrients among
households in Vanuatu, and compares these with recommended intake levels. Subsequently the
paper provides descriptive analysis of those households who consume a diet which provides less
than 50% or more than 150% of the recommended daily intake levels of calories, total fat,
vitamin A, iron, protein and sodium. Using probit regression analysis, it investigates whether
insufficient of excessive consumption of these micro and macronutrients is positively or
negatively correlated with indicators of income and food poverty identified in the literature on
Pacific populations: location (urban or rural); the composition of income (subsistence or waged);
the number and ratio of dependents to working age adults in the household; the gender and
education level of the household head; and the types of housing construction materials and
furnishings used by the household. The paper also compares changes in average household food
baskets across urban and rural areas, and populations satisfying and not satisfying the
recommended micro and macronutrient intake levels. Finally, this paper identifies the optimum
food basket for assisting households meet the recommended energy and nutrient dietary intake
levels at the lowest cost.
This paper shows that the optimum basket of goods which meets the minimum food and
nutrition needs of households is slightly more expensive than current food poverty line (FPL) in
Vanuatu in 2010(168Vt2): just 261Vt a day, or US$2.533, per person. The analysis identifies that
improving access to local vegetable products (such as cooking bananas, island cabbage and
peanuts) is the most affordable mechanism for ensuring households meet their minimum
nutrition needs, particularly for ensuring access to minimum recommend amount of Vitamin A,
Iron and protein.
The paper also identifies the supplementary policies and programs which could increase
household intake levels of essential micronutrients, and encourage dietary substitution towards
food items important to improving nutrition: targeted food voucher schemes for at risk
households; school feeding programmes; applying an excise on food and beverage products
Pacific Islands Forum (2011) Op. Cit.
UNDP (2012) Poverty and Hardship in Vanuatu, UNDP Pacific Centre, Suva
3 Based on exchange rate of 1 US$=103. 050 Vt, provided by xe rates www.xe.com/currecnyconverter
high in sodium, sugar or fat to disincentivise consumption; and fortifying flour and rice products
with micronutrients such as Vitamin A and Iron.
This paper is organized as follows: chapter 1 provides an introduction to the measurement of
household food and nutritional security in Vanuatu, and the Pacific; chapter 2 explains the
statistical method employed to identify the recommended and actual daily intake levels of
Vanuatu households, using the 2010 Household Income and Expenditure Survey; chapter 3
presents descriptive tables providing an overview of the proportion of sub-populations of
households failing to meet 50% of the minimum, or exceeding 150% of the maximum, nutrition
factors; chapter 4 identifies the correlation between these household factors and the failure to
meet the recommended nutrition values, using probit regression analysis; chapter 5 presents
the most important food items consumed by households in Vanuatu, comparing both urban and
rural households, and households satisfying the recommended dietary intake levels with those
whose diet falls short of these thresholds; chapter 6 presents an optimal basket of food items,
which is defined as the lowest total cost basket of food items required to reach the
recommended threshold of energy and nutrition consumption; and chapter 7 briefly discusses
the policy implications of these findings, including possible interventions which could improve
nutrition outcomes in Vanuatu. Additional descriptive and methodological information is
provided in the Annexes.