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Dietary Shift and Diet Quality in India: An Analysis Based on 50th, 61st and 66th Rounds of NSS

  • Raghav Gaiha1
  • Nidhi Kaicker
  • Katsushi Imai
  • Vani S. Kulkarni
  • Ganesh Thapa

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 lifestyle 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: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/asarc/pdf/papers/2012/WP2012_17.pdf
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Paper provided by The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre in its series ASARC Working Papers with number 2012-17.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pas:asarcc:2012-17
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  1. Ruel, Marie T., 2002. "Is dietary diversity an indicator of food security or dietary quality?," FCND briefs 140, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Gunther Fink, 2009. "Disease and Development Revisited," PGDA Working Papers 4409, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  3. Timmer, C. Peter, 2010. "Reflections on food crises past," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-11, February.
  4. 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.
  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.
  7. Rashid, Dewan Arif & Smith, Lisa C. & Rahman, Tauhidur, 2006. "Determinants of Dietary Quality: Evidence from Bangladesh," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21326, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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