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Estimation of Calorie Norms and Measurement of Food Intakes: Some Implications for the Magnitudes of the Prevalence of Undernutrition in India

J.V. Meenakshi and Brinda Viswanathan
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Brinda Viswanathan: Madras School of Economics

Indian Economic Review, 2013, vol. 48, issue 1, 167-188

Abstract: This paper highlights the significant measurement issues in the computation of the prevalence of inadequate calorie intakes in India using NSS data. It focuses on the setting of appropriate norms or cutoffs which determine adequacy or inadequacy, as well as the measurement of intakes. Although energy norms for an individual are biologically determined their use as a policy tool necessitates several additional considerations that have not received sufficient attention in the literature. We demonstrate that changes in assumptions regarding age-sex distribution, average heights of adults, and physical activity status can lead to substantial changes in norms. Also important is the way food intakes are measured: changes in food habits that may lead to greater underreporting as the recall period increases, and the increasing trend, even though small, of eating meals outside the home, can exert a significant influence on the trends in the POU over time. With more realistic assumptions, the prevalence of inadequate energy intakes are quite reasonable in magnitude, although still high in absolute terms. The paper also suggests that by accounting for outliers, there is a correlation between anthropometric indicators for adults and food intakes.

Keywords: Measurement; of; calorie; inadequacy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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