ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Some Nutritional Puzzles

Some Nutritional Puzzles C Asok Madhav Kulkarni ESTIMATES of the incidence of under- nutritional poverty are needed if one wants to use nutritional criteria for determining food production and distribution policy. Also, these estimates are useful to illustrate the food problem and its relative importance with respect to other related problems. Several studies have appeared in the last decade dealing with the incidence of poverty based on undernutrition. Noteworthy among these studies are those of (1) V M Dandekar and N Rath [1971] and P V Sukhatme [1978]. Dandekar and Rath in their well known study of 'Poverty in India' report that so massive is the scale of-poverty that about 40 per cent of the rural and 50 per cent of the urban population are not able to meet even their minimum energy needs to stay healthy and active. However, P V Sukhatme has pointed out that the above authors have misused the meaning of 'energy requirements. In particular, according to Sukhatme, the authors have mistaken the average energy need of an individual for the minimum needs ignoring the fact that energy needs vary between as well as within individuals over time even of the same age-sex group. Taking into consideration these variations and by making the best use of the available data, Sukhatme estimates the incidence to be 15 per cent in rural and 25 per cent in urban areas and that too on a conservative basis. However, V K R V Rao [1981] by making use of NSS data finds some Nutritional Puzzles' due to religiously accepting the figure for cut-off point used by Sukhatme. In this note an attempt is made to find out the root cause of these nutritional 'puzzles' while .simultaneously diseussing related matters in brief.

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