Measures, spatial profile and determinants of dietary diversity: evidence from India

Measures, spatial profile and determinants of dietary diversity: evidence from India

Food security policies in developing countries generally focus on calorie intake, which is not sufficient to tackle the triple burden of malnutrition: undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and over-nutrition. Consumption of a diverse diet is important to lessen the burden and is constrained by different factors.

This paper using nationally representative dataset from India, analyses the determinants of dietary diversity, which is measured using the Entropy Index. Heterogeneous dietary diversity profile across adjoining regions highlights the persistence of uneven development in terms of consumption and health indicators. Quantile regression analysis is used to identify the impact of determinants at different parts of the intake distribution. The author finds that level of consumption expenditure, quality adjusted prices of food items, educational attainment and information dissemination are important factors that affect the household's consumption of a diverse diet. As one moves away from towns dietary diversity improves. Large size landholders need not necessarily consume a diverse diet as expected. Suitable policy interventions are identified by the author.

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