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This study aimed to evaluate the status of dietary diversity and nutrient intake among Han and Dongxiang smallholder farmers in poor rural areas of northwest China. In this cross-sectional study, dietary intake was assessed in 499 smallholder farmers aged 18–75 years from two nationally designated impoverished counties in Gansu Province, China, using three consecutive 24 h dietary recalls. The dietary diversity score (DDS) and nutrient adequacy ratio (NAR) were adopted to assess dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, respectively. The mean DDS (range from 1 to 9) in participants was relatively low (3.81 ± 1.01). Consumption of grains was excessive, while consumption of vegetables, fruits, meat, beans, eggs, fish, and dairy was inadequate. The NAR values were higher in Han Chinese, with the exceptions of vitamin C, potassium, pyridoxine, and selenium (p < 0.05). For each nutrient, the high DDS group had a higher mean NAR (p < 0.05), except for pyridoxine. High household monthly income, being Han Chinese, high DDS, and being aged over 45 years were positively associated with mean adequacy ratio (MAR) of 14 micronutrients evaluated. Lack of dietary diversity and insufficient intake of essential micronutrients are public health concerns in northwest China. Nutrition education and other proper methods to address these issues are needed.


This work was originally published in Nutrients, available at https://

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