Women during fruit harvest in India. (Photo credit: E.Hermanowicz/Bioversity International)
This week, A4NH is joining together with IFPRI's Gender Task Force to host a seminar on Value Chains for Nutrition in Rural India: Investigating barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption among women of reproductive age. The seminar will feature guest speaker, Dr. Sarah Kehoe, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, UK. It will take place on Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 2-3:15pm (EST) at IFPRI's headquarters in Washington, D.C. in addition to be live-streamed. (Details on remote participation are provided below.)
Micronutrient insufficiencies are a serious public health problem amongst women of reproductive age in Low and Middle Income Countries like India, adversely affecting maternal health and economic productivity, and child growth and educational outcomes. Fruit and vegetables are important sources of micronutrients and consumption of these foods is low.
Our objective was to identify factors that affect intakes of fruit and vegetables in rural communities in Eastern Maharashtra, India. We held eight focus group discussions with women of reproductive age (18-40 years) in villages surrounding Wardha. The data collection was stopped when no new information emerged. We used inductive thematic coding to analyse the data. Seven main themes were identified as being barriers or facilitators to fruit and vegetable consumption: 1) Household dynamics; 2) Workload; 3) Personal factors; 4) Time pressures; 5) Environmental Factors; 6) Social and Cultural Norms; 7) Cost.
The majority of women consumed fruit and vegetables infrequently. They knew that fruit and vegetables were beneficial to health and wanted to increase their intakes. Several potentially modifiable factors affecting intakes were identified. It is important that the supply chains of fruit and vegetables in these communities is well understood in order to identify opportunities to intervene to increase consumption.
This study is supported by the LANSA consortium, with funding from DFID.
Dr Sarah Kehoe is a Senior Research Fellow at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (MRC LEU) at the University of Southampton, UK. She graduated in Physiology and Psychology from the University of Southampton and completed her MSc in Public Health Nutrition also at the University of Southampton in 2006. She has since worked at the MRC LEU on nutritional aspects of cohort and intervention studies investigating the developmental origins of chronic disease in India. In 2013 she completed her PhD (supervisors Professor Caroline Fall and Professor Barrie Margetts) which she undertook on a part time basis over a four year period. Her thesis was entitled ‘The effect of a micronutrient-rich food supplement on women’s health and nutrient status’. Her current research focuses on the dietary habits of young women in low-income settings in India and aims to identify and implement interventions to improve the nutritional status of these women and their children.
For related research, visit the A4NH Gender-Nutrition Idea Exchange.
For presentations and webcasts from previous Gender Methods Seminars, visit the IFPRI Gender Slideshare.
Instructions for joining the seminar virtually via GoToMeeting: