Abha Gupta


3 Mean Nutrient Intake and Nutrient Adequacy Ratio in India: Occurrence of Hidden Hunger in Indians

Authors: Abha Gupta, Deepak K. Mishra


The focus of food security studies in India has been on the adequacy of calories and its linkage with poverty level. India currently being undergoing a massive demographic and epidemiological transition has demonstrated a decline in average physical activity with improved mechanization and urbanization. Food consumption pattern is also changing with decreasing intake of coarse cereals and a marginal increase in the consumption of fruits, vegetables and meat products resulting into a nutrition transition in the country. However, deficiency of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals is rampant despite their growing importance in fighting back with lifestyle and other modern diseases. The calorie driven studies can hardly tackle the complex problem of malnutrition. This paper fills these research lacuna and analyses mean intake of different major and micro-nutrients among different socio-economic groups and adequacy of these nutrients from recommended dietary allowance. For the purpose, a cross-sectional survey covering 304 households selected through proportional stratified random sampling was conducted in six villages of Aligarh district of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Data on quantity consumed of 74 food items grouped into 10 food categories with a recall period of seven days was collected from the households and converted into energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C using standard guidelines of National Institute of Nutrition. These converted nutrients were compared with recommended norms given by National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau. Per capita nutrient adequacy was calculated by dividing mean nutrient intake by the household size and then by comparing it with recommended norm. Findings demonstrate that source of both macro and micro-nutrients are mainly cereals followed by milk, edible oil and sugar items. Share of meat in providing essential nutrients is very low due to vegetarian diet. Vegetables, pulses, nuts, fruits and dry fruits are a poor source for most of the nutrients. Further analysis evinces that intake of most of the nutrients is higher than the recommended norm. Riboflavin is the only vitamin whose intake is less than the standard norm. Poor group, labour, small farmers, Muslims, scheduled caste demonstrate comparatively lower intake of all nutrients than their counterpart groups, though, they get enough macro and micro-nutrients significantly higher than the norm. One of the major reasons for higher intake of most of the nutrients across all socio-economic groups is higher consumption of monotonous diet based on cereals and milk. Most of the nutrients get their major share from cereals particularly wheat and milk intake. It can be concluded from the analysis that although there is adequate intake of most of the nutrients in the diet of rural population yet their source is mainly cereals and milk products depicting a monotonous diet. Hence, more efforts are needed to diversify the diet by giving more focus to the production of other food items particularly fruits, vegetables and pulse products. Awareness among the population, more accessibility and incorporating food items other than cereals in government social safety programmes are other measures to improve food security in India.

Keywords: Nutrients, India, hidden hunger, recommended norm

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2 A Shift in Approach from Cereal Based Diet to Dietary Diversity in India: A Case Study of Aligarh District

Authors: Abha Gupta, Deepak K. Mishra


Food security issue in India has surrounded over availability and accessibility of cereal which is regarded as the only food group to check hunger and improve nutrition. Significance of fruits, vegetables, meat and other food products have totally been neglected given the fact that they provide essential nutrients to the body. There is a need to shift the emphasis from cereal-based approach to a more diverse diet so that aim of achieving food security may change from just reducing hunger to an overall health. This paper attempts to analyse how far dietary diversity level has been achieved across different socio-economic groups in India. For this purpose, present paper sets objectives to determine (a) percentage share of different food groups to total food expenditure and consumption by background characteristics (b) source of and preference for all food items and, (c) diversity of diet across socio-economic groups. A cross sectional survey covering 304 households selected through proportional stratified random sampling was conducted in six villages of Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Information on amount of food consumed, source of consumption and expenditure on food (74 food items grouped into 10 major food groups) was collected with a recall period of seven days. Per capita per day food consumption/expenditure was calculated through dividing consumption/expenditure by household size and number seven. Food variety score was estimated by giving 0 values to those food groups/items which had not been eaten and 1 to those which had been taken by households in last seven days. Addition of all food group/item score gave result of food variety score. Diversity of diet was computed using Herfindahl-Hirschman index. Findings of the paper show that cereal, milk, roots and tuber food groups contribute a major share in total consumption/expenditure. Consumption of these food groups vary across socio-economic groups whereas fruit, vegetables, meat and other food consumption remain low and same. Estimation of dietary diversity show higher concentration of diet due to higher consumption of cereals, milk, root and tuber products and dietary diversity slightly varies across background groups. Muslims, Scheduled caste, small farmers, lower income class, food insecure, below poverty line and labour families show higher concentration of diet as compared to their counterpart groups. These groups also evince lower mean intake of number of food item in a week due to poor economic constraints and resultant lower accessibility to number of expensive food items. Results advocate to make a shift from cereal based diet to dietary diversity which not only includes cereal and milk products but also nutrition rich food items such as fruits, vegetables, meat and other products. Integrating a dietary diversity approach in food security programmes of the country would help to achieve nutrition security as hidden hunger is widespread among the Indian population.

Keywords: Food Security, India, dietary diversity, socio-economic groups

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1 Academic Performance and Therapeutic Breathing

Authors: Abha Gupta, Seema Maira, Smita Sinha


This paper explores using breathing techniques to boost the academic performance of students and describes how teachers can foster the technique in their classrooms. The innovative study examines the differential impact of therapeutic breathing exercises, called pranayama, on students’ academic performance. The paper introduces approaches to therapeutic breathing exercises as an alternative to improve school performance, as well as the self-regulatory behavior, which is known to correlate with academic performance. The study was conducted in a school-wide pranayama program with positive outcomes. The intervention consisted of two breathing exercises, (1) deep breathing, and (2) alternate nostril breathing. It is a quantitative study spanning over a year with about 100 third graders was conducted using daily breathing exercises to investigate the impact of pranayama on academic performance. Significant cumulative gain-scores were found for students who practiced the approach.

Keywords: Yoga, Academic Performance, pranayama, therapeutic breathing

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