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Citation Information

Type Report
Title Longitudinal analysis of the intrahousehold distribution of foods in rural Nepal: Effectiveness of a community-level development intervention
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/235536/2/Darrouzet-Nardi et al.​(2016)_IntrahouseholdNepal_WorkingPaper_May2016.pdf
Inadequate child dietary quality is a problem of public health significance in rural Nepal. This
study explores whether and how dietary patterns within households changed over a four-year time
period with the introduction of a randomized community development intervention in rural Nepal.
Individual-level dietary data within households is rarely observed over extended periods of time, which
limits our understanding of within-household food distribution dynamics, especially in the context of
impact evaluations. Six rural communities of Nepal with predominantly agricultural livelihoods were
selected to participate in the phased implementation of a long-term community-level development
intervention. Households (N=414 at baseline) and children (N=951 at baseline) in each community were
surveyed at baseline; and the 116-item follow-up surveys were implemented at 6 months, 12 months,
18 months, 24 months, and 48 months. Detailed data on food consumption were collected at the
household-level and for individual children older than 6 months of age using a 24 hour recall for 17
foods and food groups; parents responded for children. Child-level dietary diversity and consumption of
animal sourced foods were the outcomes of interest. Fixed-effects analysis of the resulting panel data
indicates that there are disparities in the responsiveness of child dietary quality with respect to
household dietary quality, as measured by elasticities. Results indicate that there are no differences in
the responsiveness of child dietary quality to household dietary quality between girl and boy children,
but there are measurable disparities in dietary quality responsiveness across age groups of children and
across regions of Nepal. As the length of time of exposure to the community development intervention
increased, so did the responsiveness of child dietary quality to household dietary quality, as measured
by elasticities. This pattern holds during both times of household stress and times of household
prosperity, as indicated by the household-level dietary diversity differenced from the mean across all six
time periods. The long-term, community-level development of rural women’s groups may have
increased women’s status in the study sites and resulted in the improved diets for children, but
measurement of women’s status over time is necessary to test that hypothesis. These results stress the
importance of measuring and addressing intrahousehold dynamics – in particular across age cohorts –
during community development projects, and caution against assuming the presence of sex bias in the
distribution of foods within households.

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