Review of dietary assessment studies conducted among Khmer populations living in Cambodia

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2022 Oct;35(5):901-918. doi: 10.1111/jhn.13011. Epub 2022 Apr 19.


Background: Despite economic growth, Cambodia continues to have high rates of malnutrition, anaemia and nutrition-related deficiencies. Government policies promote nutrition strategies, although dietary intake data is limited. A detailed synthesis of existing intake data is needed to inform nutrition policy and practice change. This review aims to characterise and assess quality of dietary assessment methods and outcomes from individual-level 'whole diet' studies of Khmer people living in Cambodia.

Methods: Searches were conducted using PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Included papers reported dietary intake at an individual level for 'whole diet'. Studies using secondary data or lacking dietary assessment details were excluded. Extracted data included dietary assessment features, nutrient/food group intakes and database.

Results: Nineteen publications (15 studies) were included, with nine carried out among children under 5 years and six among women. Eleven studies reported intake by food groups and four by nutrients, prominently energy, protein, vitamin A, iron, calcium and zinc. Inconsistent intakes, food groupings and reporting of study characteristics limited data synthesis. All but one study used 24-h recalls. Trained local fieldworkers used traditional interview-administered data collection and varied portion estimation tools. Food composition databases for analysis were not tailored to the Cambodian diet. Overall quality was rated as 'good'.

Conclusions: We recommend the development of a best-practice protocol for conducting dietary assessment, a Cambodia-specific food composition database and a competent trained workforce of nutrition professionals, with global support of expertise and funding for future dietary assessment studies conducted in Cambodia.

Keywords: Cambodia; dietary assessment; dietary intake; food composition database; review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cambodia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition* / epidemiology
  • Nutrition Assessment*