Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations

Contents:

Author Info

  • Angus Deaton

    (Princeton University)

  • Jean Drèze

    (Allahabad University)

Abstract

In spite of India’s rapid economic growth, there has been a sustained decline in per capita calorie consumption during the last twenty-five years. While the decline has been largest among better-off households, it has taken place throughout the range of household per capita total expenditure. For both adults and children, anthropometric indicators of nutritional status in India are among the worst in the world. While these indicators have shown improvement over time, the rate of progress is slow relative to what might be expected based on international and historical experience. This paper presents the basic facts about growth, poverty and nutrition in India, it points to a number of puzzles, and it sketches a preliminary story that is consistent with the evidence. The reduction in calorie consumption cannot be attributed to declining real incomes, nor to any increase in the relative price of food. Our leading hypothesis, on which much work remains to be done, is that, as real incomes and wages have increased, leading to some nutritional improvement, there has been an offsetting reduction in calorie requirements due to declining levels of physical activity and possibly also to various improvements in the health environment. If correct, this analysis does not imply that Indians are currently adequately nourished; nothing could be further from the truth. Calorie intake has serious limitations as a nutritional intake; while calories are extremely important, there are too many sources of variation in calorie requirements for standard, invariant, calorie-norms to be usefully applied to large sections of the population. We conclude with a plea for better, and more regular, monitoring of nutritional status in India.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/rpds/papers/deaton_dreze_india_nutrition.pdf
Our checks indicate that this address may not be valid because: 404 Not Found. If this is indeed the case, please notify (David Long)
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1071.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:deaton_dreze_india_nutrition

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 208 Fisher Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258 - 6403
Fax: (609) 258 - 5974
Web page: http://www.princeton.edu/%7Erpds/index.html
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Carlos Bozzoli & Angus S. Deaton & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2007. "Child Mortality, Income and Adult Height," NBER Working Papers 12966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Das Gupta, Monica, 1987. "Informal Security Mechanisms and Population Retention in Rural India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 101-20, October.
  3. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
  4. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
  5. Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
  6. Angus Deaton & Valerie Kozel, 2005. "Data and Dogma: The Great Indian Poverty Debate," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 177-199.
  7. Tarozzi, Alessandro & Mahajan, Aprajit, 2007. "Child Nutrition in India in the Nineties," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 441-86, April.
  8. Gregory Clark & Michael Huberman & Peter H. Lindert, 1995. "A British food puzzle, 1770–1850," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 48(2), pages 215-237, 05.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Singh, Ashish, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Indian children: the case of immunization and nutrition," MPRA Paper 32505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Spillovers in learning and behavior: Evidence from a nutritional information campaign in urban slums," MPRA Paper 33362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Denis Cogneau & Remi Jedwab, 2008. "Family Income and Child Outcomes:The 1990 Cocoa Price Shock in Cote d'Ivoire," CEDI Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University 08-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  4. Perkins, Jessica M. & Khan, Kashif T. & Smith, George Davey & Subramanian, S.V., 2011. "Patterns and trends of adult height in India in 2005-2006," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 184-193, March.
  5. Singh, Prakarsh, 2011. "Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums," MPRA Paper 29403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Raghav Gaiha & Vani Kulkarni & Manoj Pandey & Katsushi Imai, 2009. "Pro-poor growth, poverty, and inequality in rural Vietnam: welfare gap between the ethnic majority and minority," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series, Economics, The University of Manchester 0907, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  7. Fan, Linlin & Nogueira, Lia & Baylis, Katherine R., 2013. "Agricultural Market Reforms and Nutritional Transition in Rural China," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150203, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:deaton_dreze_india_nutrition. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Long).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.