Gender differential in dietary quality is all the more among adolescents, shows a new study
Rahul Dass | April 27, 2016 | New Delhi
Girls getting less food than boys was always considered a societal stereotype in India. A study has shown that it is unfortunately true. It has also highlighted a key deficiency in our policy approach by identifying that the difference in dietary quality takes place around 15 years of age and also helped explain why a healthy girl child turns into an under-nourished woman.
The issue of female health is hugely important for a country like India, which is home to the world’s largest youth population. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), there are a mind-boggling 356 million people in the 10-24 year age group in India, making it over a quarter of the total 1.2 billion populace. It is way ahead of China which has 269 million young people.
The study, titled 'Do Boys Eat Better Than Girls in India?' by Elisabetta Aurino, a research fellow in the School of Public Health at Imperial College, London, and research associate at Young Lives, has documented the evolution of gender gaps in dietary diversity and the consumption of different foods for two cohorts at different ages.
“While no gender-based disparities in dietary quality occur at 5, 8 and 12 years old, a wide pro-boy gap emerges at age 15. Specifically, mid-adolescent girls tend to consume fewer protein- and vitamin-rich foods such as eggs, legumes, root vegetables, fruit and meat. This result is robust to gender differences between adolescents in terms of puberty onset, and dietary behaviours,” the paper said.
The study will particularly help policy makers who were left perplexed by the under-nourishment in Indian women, despite the girl child being healthy in the initial years.
In fact, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16, which was released by the union health ministry in January, shows that more than half of the children in 10 out of 15 states are still anaemic and distressingly, it also showed that more than half of women were anaemic in as many as 11 states.
Aurino’s research is significant in the Indian context as the country is increasingly being burdened with under-nourishment among children. The policy makers have been laying stress on improving the female health in an effort to break the inter-generational cycle of malnutrition.
Health of adolescent and women is a priority area for the central government, which has been running several schemes to ensure that the young get adequate attention. It is particularly so for women in the child-bearing age so that they are not malnourished -- and hunger and its adverse impact is not on passed to the next generation.
The Indic Quotient: Reclaiming Heritage through Cultural Enterprise By Kaninika Mishra Bloomsbury India, 230 pages, Rs. 499 Over the past decade, India has seen a significant rise in passion for enterprise as well as pride in her
International observers will keenly watch the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee meeting next month. The central committee is the highest organ of the CCP with a mandate to execute the decision of the National Congress which is convened once every five years. Besides economy, r
News profession is organic in nature, requires responsibility and discipline, and there is no room for mistake. To maintain high standards of accuracy you need discipline and hygiene in the newsroom. Sudhir Chaudhary, editor in chief of Zee News, Zee Business and Wion, has said that a TRP-driven business m
When Dharmendra Pandey, a fruit-seller had to leave Mumbai after the imposition of the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, and return to his village in Uttar Pradesh, he was staring at economic uncertainties ahead. Little did he know that his 16-year-old son, Mahavir, had acquired skills that would come
Wearing a face mask is the first line of defence against the novel coronavirus, along with maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands with soap. More than six months after the outbreak of Covid-19, nearly 90 percent of people in India have become aware of the necessity of wearing a face mask,
Is India finally gaining an upper hand over the Covid-19 pandemic? After weeks of new cases hitting 90,000-plus every day, the tide seems to be turning, as the number came down to 75,083 on Tuesday, and the recoveries were not only higher than that but crossed the 1 lakh mark too. The countr