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Does Female Disadvantage Mean Lower Access to Food?


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  • Laurie F. DeRose
  • Maitreyi Das
  • Sara R. Millman
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    The literature on gender differentials in nutrition demonstrates that the calorie intake of females is generally as adequate as that of males at all ages. Female disadvantage in micronutrient intake is, however, frequent. Pregnant and lactating women are disadvantaged relative to both men and other women. In South Asia there is evidence that boys are advantaged over girls in food intake at some ages, but the evidence for male advantage in access to health care is far stronger. The authors argue that nutrition interventions are best targeted when the incidence of female disadvantage is better understood and, similarly, that interventions to improve women's status should be focused on objectives other than calorie intake in most communities. However, standards for measuring adequacy incorporate norms for female body size and physical activity that may uncritically accept the notion that females are more physically passive. Maintaining adequacy by these standards could perpetuate low levels of female functioning. Copyright 2000 by The Population Council, Inc..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 517-547

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:26:y:2000:i:3:p:517-547

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    Cited by:
    1. Sonia Bhalotra & Sam Rawlings, 2010. "Intergenerational persistence in health in developing countries: the penalty of gender inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/249, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.


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