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

A+| A| A-

Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations

This paper reviews recent evidence on food intake and nutrition in India. It attempts to make sense of various puzzles, particularly the decline of average calorie intake during the last 25 years. This decline has occurred across the distribution of real per capita expenditure, in spite of increases in real income and no long-term increase in the relative price of food. One hypothesis is that calorie requirements have declined due to lower levels of physical activity or improvements in the health environment. If correct, this does not imply that there are no calorie deficits in the Indian population - nothing could be further from the truth. These deficits are reflected in some of the worst anthropometric indicators in the world, and the sluggish rate of improvement of these indicators is of major concern. Yet recent trends remain confused and there is an urgent need for better nutrition monitoring.

We are grateful to Reetika Khera, Anima Rani and Thu Vu for help in the preparation of this paper, and to G N V Brahmam for detailed clarifications relating to National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau data. We would also like to thank Linda Adair, Harold Alderman, David Atkin, Joachim von Braun, Anne Case, Noel Cameron, Bruno Dorin, Himanshu, S Mahendra Dev, J V Meenakshi, K V Radha Krishna, Abhijit Sen, Rekha Sharma, Priyanka Sinha, Veena Shatrugna, Alessandro Tarozzi and especially A Vaidyanathan for helpful discussions. The authors are solely responsible for the views expressed herein.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top