ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assessing the Nutritional Status of Rural Labour


Recent studies have shown that a nutrition transition is underway in urban and rural India, evident from the declining undernutrition and rapidly increasing overweight. Using the National Family Health Survey data to supplement the analysis of Nupur Kataria (“An Assessment of the Nutritional Status of India’s Rural Labour since the Early 1980s,” EPW, 11 December 2021) has two distinct advantages. It helps assess the nutritional changes in the recent years that the National Sample Survey Office data does not cover. It allows one to move beyond intakes and use data on nutritional status, measured by anthropometric indicators. An analysis of the third and fourth rounds of the NFHS data points towards evidence of nutrition transition among rural labour in India between 2005–06 and 2015–16.

The study by Nupur Kataria (EPW, 11 December 2021) traces the change in nutritional status of the rural working poor over a span of three eventful decades in India. The well-being of rural labour, measured in terms of their nutritional intake, has been shown to improve between 1983–84 and 2011–12. Corroborating the findings of a rich body of existing literature, the article shows that the nutritional intake of rural labour in India declined in the initial years of the post-reform period (between 1993–94 and 2004–05). The average per capita intake of calorie and protein increased for the group in the subsequent period (between 2004–05 and 2011–12), though still falling short of the recommended levels. The analysis ends at 2012, evidently because of the unavailability of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data on consumer expenditure since then.

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Updated On : 17th Oct, 2022
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