An Overview Do we know what they eat, and why? A Study on School-level Dietary Adequacy and Impact of Cultural Beliefs
The Nutrition Puzzle – Why Do So Many People in Poor Countries Eat So Badly and What Can Be Done About It?
Factors impacting nutritional outcomes • Extreme poverty, as well as other socio-economic factors, such as poor educational attainment, low income, gender differentials, maternal awareness and education which determine the quantum and composition of household food consumption. • Disease prevalence, both due to lack of hygiene and sanitation, as well as due to poor nutrition, which impact nutritional outcomes. • Lack of community knowledge and awareness in the minds of the adults caring for the children. Many myths and beliefs still prevail, that dictate local customs regarding feeding practices. With-holding nutritious food from a sick child and inappropriate feeding of pregnant and lactating mothers are examples.
Conceptual Framework • Availabilityrefers to the total quantum of food grain produced per capita. • Accessibility speaks to (i) the capacity of the individual or household to procure the required amount of food for their use; and (ii) the distribution of the food within the household. Both these dimensions are closely associated with poverty and related socio-economic factors (gender, educational levels, occupation, income, household size etc.). • Absorption of food has to do with biological ability to utilize nutrition. • Local traditions and customs relating to food and eating habits are very strong and important, differing from region to region.
Research Questions • Why are there differences in the growth patterns of children in Grades 1-5 - to what extent are these differences determined by nutritional intake of both macro- and micro-nutrients? • Why do households make the nutritional choices that they do: (a) economic and social factors; (b) traditional and cultural practices; or (c) some combination of these factors? • Why are there differences in nutritional outcomes among certain social sub-groups (gender, tribalsetc.)? • How can locally available solutions (short- or long-term) be mainstreamed into the everyday lives and diets of the children to address significant nutritional deficiencies?
ResearchDesign • The study will be conducted in 3 locations - Yadgir, Mandya and HD Kote • These represent a substantially different demographic and geography • This variety in the characteristics of the districts will make for interesting variations in the findings and add considerably to the richness of the findings.
Research Outputs • Policy Briefs: analysis of the MDMS; TPDS; ICDS • Research publications • Community level consultations • Case studies/course material