Food Composition Tables in Southeast Asia: The Contribution of the SMILING Project

Paul Hulshof*, Esmee Doets, Sok Seyha, Touch Bunthang, Manithong Vonglokham, Sengchanh Kounnavong, Umi Famida, Siti Muslimatun, Otte Santika, Sri Prihatini, Nazarina Nazarudin, Abas Jahari, Nipa Rojroongwasinkul, Uraiporn Chittchang, Le Bach Mai, Le Hong Dung, Tran Thi Lua, Verena Nowak, Lucy Elburg, Alida Melse-BoonstraInge Brouwer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Food composition data are key for many nutrition related activities in research, planning and policy. Combatting micronutrient malnutrition among women and young children using sustainable food based approaches, as aimed at in the SMILING project, requires high quality food composition data. Methods In order to develop capacity and to align procedures for establishing, updating and assessing the quality of key nutrient data in the food composition tables in Southeast Asia, a detailed roadmap was developed to identify and propose steps for this. This included a training workshop to build capacity in the field of food composition data, and alignment of procedures for selecting foods and nutrients to be included for quality assessment, and update of country specific food composition tables. The SEA partners in the SMILING project finalised a country specific food composition table (FCT) with updated compositional data on selected foods and nutrients considered key for designing nutrient dense and optimal diets for the target groups. Results Between 140 and 175 foods were selected for inclusion in the country specific FCTs. Key-nutrients were: energy, protein, total fat, carbohydrates, iron, zinc, (pro-)-vitamin A, folate, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C. A detailed quality assessment on 13 key-foods per nutrient was performed using international guidelines. Nutrient data for specific local food items were often unavailable and data on folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 contents were mostly missing. For many foods, documentation was not available, thereby complicating an in-depth quality assessment. Despite these limitations, the SMILING project offered a unique opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of high quality well documented food composition data. Conclusion for Practise The self-reported data quality demonstrated that there is considerable room for improvement of the nutrient data quality in some countries. In addition, investment in sustainable capacity development and an urgent need to produce and document high quality data on the micronutrient composition of especially local foods is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Capacity building
  • Data quality
  • Food composition
  • Nutrient data
  • SMILING project


Dive into the research topics of 'Food Composition Tables in Southeast Asia: The Contribution of the SMILING Project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this