Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Factors which are responsible for problem Malnutrition in India

India is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition as per World Bank. Malnutrition in India results from various factors such as poor socio economic status, gender inequality, differences in region, religion and caste. In the context of it, cultural beliefs may enforce dietary preferences. 

1) In his book Accounting for Tastes, Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker suggested that culture has important implication in shaping an individual’s preference. For instance, the migrants in India consume less because of food preferences. Similarly, the religious angle of eating pork for Muslims and Jews affect their dietary intake. 

2) The practice of not eating meat on certain days of the week due to religious reasons among Hindus is also an example of culture affecting dietary preference. 

3) Angus Deaton and John Dreze had explained the falling calorie consumption among-st Indians by linking it to changes in way of life. They argued that earlier, Indians were involved in more physical activities leading to greater calorie consumption. 

4) On the contrary, changing from cultural norms also result in malnourishment. Westernization of diet, consuming foods which are unsuitable for tropical countries are consumed by middle and upper class strata of society also leads to malnourishment (changing food habits and over nutrition). Assimilation and absorption of nutrients also poor in this diet. 

5) The patriarchal society of India which results in early marriage of girl child and reproductive role of women given primary importance has also resulted in prevailing malnutrition. Lack of pre and post natal health care, multiple children without adequate gap, lack of awareness about health needs, poor care provided during lactation period are all reasons behind increasing malnutrition 

6) The prevalence among-st Indians to defecate in the open leads to greater incidents of diarrhea and other health issues which leads to malnutrition. 

Conspicuous consumption also leads to malnutrition: 

1) For a country as populous as India, and as resource starved, the growing consumption of meat items affects food security. 

2) In tier 2 cities, even in middle income households, the tendency is there to spend lavishly on non essential items like eating out, alcohol etc which leads to lesser amount being available for nutrition intake. 

3) According to Global Hunger Index report, India has the largest incident of malnutrition. At the same time, the problem of obesity is huge in the country. This points towards the rising inequality and conspicuous consumption affecting resource distribution.


  1. It's really sad to see children who are malnourished. I hope the people in charge of this issue will exert more effort in making sure that all needs are met, this is why students from http://www.evoessay.com/ are making sure to do fundraising to help these kids.


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