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The determinants of demand for micronutrients

  • Bouis, Howarth E.
  • Novenario-Reese, Mary Jane G.

Micronutrient deficiencies are particularly severe in Bangladesh. Understanding howhousehold income, food prices, parental education and nutritional knowledge, and culturally-based customs and food preferences interact to determine food consumption patterns (particularly for nonstaple foods), and so micronutrient intake, can provide crucial information for designing policies and intervention programs to improve human nutrition. Within the typical dietary patterns of the Bangladeshi survey population, the key food group with respect to micronutrient consumption is vegetables, providing nearly 95 percent of vitamin A intake, 75 percent of vitamin C intake, and 25 percent of iron intake. Vegetables are the least expensive sources of all of these nutrients. Vegetables are sufficiently inexpensive sources of vitamin A and vitamin C that they could provide the RDA within normal dietary patterns and the budgets of low-income groups. There is no corresponding inexpensive source of iron. Programs to educate consumers about the importance of meeting recommended daily allowances of vitamin A and vitamin C and about commonly eaten sources of these nutrients has the potential for improving intake. Because a high proportion of vitamin A and vitamin C intake apparently comes from own-production, extension programs to promote growing specific vitamin A and vitamin C rich foods not only would provide households with a ready supply of these nutrients, but increased production could bring the local price down.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series FCND discussion papers with number 32.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:32
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  1. Bouis, Howarth E., 1994. "The effect of income on demand for food in poor countries: Are our food consumption databases giving us reliable estimates?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 199-226, June.
  2. Lipton, M., 1988. "The Poor And The Poorest," World Bank - Discussion Papers 25, World Bank.
  3. Payne, Philip & Lipton, Michael, 1994. "How Third World rural households adapt to dietary energy stress," Food policy reviews 2, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  4. Strauss, John, 1984. "Joint determination of food consumption and production in rural Sierra Leone : Estimates of a household-firm model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 77-103.
  5. Pitt, Mark M, 1983. "Food Preferences and Nutrition in Rural Bangladesh," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 105-14, February.
  6. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1987. "Will Developing Country Nutrition Improve with Income? A Case Study for Rural South India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 492-507, June.
  7. Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
  8. Pitt, Mark M & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1985. "Health and Nutrient Consumption across and within Farm Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(2), pages 212-23, May.
  9. Behrman, Jere R. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "More evidence on nutrition demand : Income seems overrated and women's schooling underemphasized," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 105-128.
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