The changing pattern of undernutrition in India: A comparative analysis across regions

Type Journal Article - Food Security: Indicators, Measurement, and the Impact of Trade Openness
Title The changing pattern of undernutrition in India: A comparative analysis across regions
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Page numbers 109
The present study attempts to describe the pattern of undernourishment in India, disaggregated by state and rural/urban sector, and the factors associated with these changes. It also attempts to contextualize undernourishment in India in comparison with that in other developing countries. The underlying objective is to understand the level of and trends in food insecurity in the country, at a time when the country has experienced higher economic growth and an improvement in various social indicators. The analysis is based on Indian household level data from consumer expenditure surveys of the National Sample Survey Organization for the years 1983, 1993-94, and 1999/2000. The analysis suggests that rural India has seen a decline in energy intakes, while urban India has seen a small increase, although there are substantial state-specific variations. The results on the proportion of the undernourished are not in consonance with changes in income poverty rates. For both rural and urban states, the percentage of undernourishment is far higher than the income poverty rates. Further, over time in rural India the prevalence of undernourishment has increased, while income poverty rates have declined. Interestingly, a decline in inequality in caloric intakes is observed in both rural and urban areas between 1983 and 1993-94. However, between 1993-94 and 1999-2000, inequalities appear to have increased in urban areas. There is some evidence to suggest that despite declining intakes, attributed almost entirely to lower cereal intakes, there is some improvement in dietary quality, as reflected by decreasing reliance on cereals and tubers as the principal energy source.

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