Construction of Healthy and Palatable Diet for Low Socioeconomic Female Adults using Linear Programming

Roslee Rajikan, Nurul Izza Ahmad Zaidi, Siti Masitah Elias, Suzana Shahar, Zahara Abd Manaf, Noor Aini Md Yusoff


Differences in socioeconomic profile may influences healthy food choices, particularly among individuals with low socioeconomic status. Thus, high-energy dense foods become the preferences compared to high nutritional content foods due to their cheaper price. The present study aims to develop healthy and palatable diet at the minimum cost based on Malaysian Dietary Guidelines 2010 and Recommended Nutrient Intake 2005 via linear programming. A total of 96 female adults from low socioeconomic families in Johor, South East Malaysia have been recruited for the present study. Anthropometric measurement; weight and height, socio-demographic information and 3-days food record have been collected from the subjects. In addition, data on food prices have also been collected. Then, a linear programming model has been developed to select the cheapest food combinations that could fulfil all the nutritional recommendations and palatable constraints in order to capture common dietary habit of the locals. Subsequently, healthy seven-days menus have been created using the optimal food servings estimated from the linear programming model. Dietary data have shown that the average energy intake among low-income adult women (1871 ± 317 kcal/day) is less than the nutrient recommendation. Thus, from the linear programming analysis, the minimum food cost has been estimated at RM6.55 (2.15 USD) for the total energy intake of 2000 kcal per day for a female adult which meets the recommendation of MDG 2010 and RNI 2005. In conclusion, linear programming may be a useful tool to develop healthy and palatable diets at a minimal cost in managing dietary problems among low socioeconomic groups where food expenditure becomes an important restraining factor. Eventually, low socioeconomics female adults would improve their nutritional intake by making wiser food choices to meet all the nutritional requirements, which lead to healthier life.


socioeconomic status; linear programming; constraints; healthy diet

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Published by INSIGHT - Indonesian Society for Knowledge and Human Development