Countdown to ANH Academy Week 2017: Gaining knowledge and insight into nutrition research from ANH

Climatic-environmental conditions have an enormous influence on the agricultural cycle, and the economy of rural households in developing countries depends of this. Populations suffer from seasonal energy stress due to fluctuations in access to food, or increased energy expenditure needed for peak agricultural work. Seasonality stands recognised as a constraint to agricultural production, as well as household food and nutrition security. The latter directly reflects on the nutritional status of the household.

Energy intake and seasonality: my ongoing research

Eight villages (761 households) in Wardha district in Maharashtra and 11 villages (889 households) in Koraput district in Odisha, India were selected for the study due to their contrast with regard to agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions, land holding status, agricultural practices and food consumption pattern. A semi-quantitative questionnaire was used to collect frequency of consumption of different foods based on monthly recall at three points of time in a year to capture seasonal variations (2013-14 & 2014-15) to cover the lean (January –April), planting (May-August) and harvest (September-December) periods in agriculture.  

Cereals (wheat and rice), roots and tubers, fats and sugars were consumed daily in Wardha; in Koraput, cereals (rice and finger millet), other vegetables, fats and sugars were consumed daily. In both locations cereals act as main source of energy; in Koraput, 83 to 86% and in Wardha, 62 to 64% of energy is obtained from cereals, irrespective of seasons. Pulses were consumed twice or thrice a week in both locations. Energy intake was significantly higher during lean period (2272.6 kcal) followed by harvesting and planting season in Wardha; while it was significantly higher during planting season (2436.3 kcal) followed by lean and harvesting season in Koraput.

A glance at the findings

The study shows that fluctuation in availability and accessibility of food caused by seasonality, affects food intake of individuals, and can impact energy intake as well as nutritional status. We have taken this into consideration while designing food-based approaches to combat the problem of undernutrition.

My expectation from ANH Week

Presenting LANSA work during the mini-poster session at ANH scientific symposium will for sure bring perspective from academicians working on nutrition research. There will an added value of networking with experts from different yet related academic fields, and I expect to update myself on recent developments and newer techniques from ANH Academy Week.

The Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy in partnership with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition will jointly host the 2nd Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy week and the 5th Annual Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition (Nutrition Innovation Lab) Agriculture-Nutrition Scientific Symposium on 9-13 July 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The ANH Academy and the Nutrition Innovation Lab invite the global community to participate in this event.

Contributed by D J Nithya Nutritionist, LANSA MSSRF.


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