Nutrient and Cost Optimization in Menu Planning at an Apex Tertiary Care Hospital Using Operational Research Techniques
Keywords:Nutrient optimization, Cost Optimization, Menu Planning
Introduction: Menu planning involves meticulous customised designing of nutrients to fulfill the dietetic
needs of patients with various clinical profiles admitted in the Hospital. The goal of the diet problem is
to select a set of foods that will satisfy a set of daily nutritional requirement of patients at minimum cost.
Various tools and techniques of applied simulation models in Operational Research are available to optimize
the cost as well as quality of food.
Methodology: The study based on exploratory research design was conducted at Dietetics Department of an
apex tertiary care hospital in India. It was based on an exploratory research design. The LPSolve programming
language was used to analyse the data and generate the output. Integer Programming determined the most
nutritious meals while considering the constraints of the RDA by ICMR. The Nutritive Value of Ingredients
per 100 grams was obtained from the Nutritive Value of Indian Foods (2012) published by NIN, ICMR.
A model was formulated using the notations, N for the total number of dishes available, ci for the Cost of ith
dish, where i = 1,2,3,………N, xi for the decision variable, LB for the Lower Bound of nutrition intake, UB
for Upper Bound of nutrition intake, n for the Number of dishes required per day and T for the Total types
of food, the following equations were used.
Objective Function: Minimize the total cost F,
Constraint 1: Daily constraints ; where i=1, 2…….N
Constraint 2: where i= 1, 2, 3…….T
Results: It was found that the Indian recipes fail to provide the minimum RDA of Vitamin A and Vitamin B6
and therefore, the lower bound had to be reduced significantly for these Vitamins.
Conclusion: The application based on operational research techniques can be further developed to be
deployed across different hospitals. This would help to not only to provide the RDA but also ensure that it
is done at a lower cost.
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