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Diet Diversification and Diet Quality in India: An Analysis

  • Raghav Gaiha

    (Department of Urban Studies and Regional Planning, MIT, Cambridge, U.S.A.)

  • Nidhi Kaicker

    (School of Business, Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship, Ambedkar University, India)

  • Katsushi S. Imai

    (Economics, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester (UK) and RIEB, Kobe University (Japan))

  • Vani S. Kulkarni

    (Department of Sociology, Yale University, U.S.A.)

  • Ganesh Thapa

    (International Fund for Agricultural Development, Italy)

Our study examines changes in diets over the period 1993-2009. Diets have shifted away from cereals towards higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, oils and livestock products. Using household data, a food diversity index (FDI) is constructed, based on five food commodities. Significant price effects that vary over time are confirmed, as also income/expenditure effects. Over and above these effects, more sedentary life styles and less strenuous activity patterns played a significant role in shaping dietary patterns. An important finding is slowing down of dietary transition in the more recent sub-period 2004-09. Clues relate to weakening or strengthening of food price, expenditure and life-style effects over time. Using an instrumented measure of FDI in the second stage, and all other exogenous variables, its effects on nutrients' intakes are analysed. A common finding that food diversity is associated with better quality diet and higher intakes of nutrients is not corroborated. While there is a reduction in calorie intake, there are increases in protein and fat intakes. A case is made for provision of public goods, nutrition labelling, regulation of food standards, consumer awareness of healthy diets, food fortification and supplementation, and active involvement of the private sector in adhering to the regulatory standards and nutritional norms.

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File URL: http://www.rieb.kobe-u.ac.jp/academic/ra/dp/English/DP2012-30.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number DP2012-30.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kob:dpaper:dp2012-30
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  1. Raghbendra Jha & Raghav Gaiha & Anurag Sharma, 2009. "Modelling variety in consumption expenditure on food in India," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 503-519.
  2. Timmer, C. Peter, 2010. "Reflections on food crises past," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-11, February.
  3. David E. Bloom & David Canning & G�nther Fink, 2014. "Disease and Development Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(6), pages 1355 - 1366.
  4. Rashid, Dewan Arif & Smith, Lisa C. & Rahman, Tauhidur, 2011. "Determinants of Dietary Quality: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2221-2231.
  5. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
  6. Timmer, C Peter, 1981. "Is There "Curvature" in the Slutsky Matrix?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(3), pages 395-402, August.
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