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Impact of Nutrition Transition on Food and Nutrition System

Info: 1910 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 11th Oct 2017 in Health

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Student: Thara Baby Akshai Babu




One of the largest food producing country in the world is India (Singh et al, 2012). But 21% of the total population is under nourished (Singh et al, 2012). About 300 million people struggle for meeting their meals 2 times a day (Singh et al, 2012).Nutritional profile is a important factor of the progress in which nation has made in the modern days (Sachdev et al, 2004). Due to this factor there are many effects and implications in the everyday life of the normal people (Sachdev et al, 2004). The achievements are only for the highly economically privileged sections of the society. Due to the nutritional transition occurred, the development of the early adult hood disease is one of the main adverse effect in the daily living of the people (Sachdev et al, 2004). As a result, the rates of mortality as well as morbidity increased as well (Sachdev et al, 2004). Recent researches suggest that 40% of mortality rate in developing countries are due to Non communicable diseases and the rate is 75% in developed countries (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). Due to the nutritional transition and changes in the life style pattern of the people, there is increase in the energy intake as well as decrease in the energy expenditure in the daily living activities (Sachdev et al, 2004).


2.1. Health consequences associated with transition.

By the development of Nutrition transition, many adverse effects have been occurring (Sachdev et al, 2004). The most powerful evidence is the increase in the rate of risk towards the diseases like diabetes mellitus (Type 2), metabolic syndromes, coronary heart diseases, increased blood pressure etc. (Sachdev et al, 2004). It is expected that the rate of incidence of disease and death due to the CHD will be about 60% rather than any other infectious diseases in the upcoming years (Sachdev et al, 2004). And besides it is predicted that India will be the country with more diabetic patients in turn among the age of 45-64 than any other developing countries in 2025 (Sachdev et al, 2004). India is likewise in the path of demographic transition where the pace of life expectancy increases while the birth rate falls (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).

2.2. Dietary Consumption and life style changes due to Nutrition transition in India.

Sudden changes in the quantity of dietary intake on developing countries indicate an increase in per capita availability of food (Prakash & Shetty, 2002) . It is as good as accompanied by the quantitative changes in the diet (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).According to the food balance data sheet produced by Food And Agricultural Organisation(FAO) the amount of intake of animal fats, sugar in Asian countries has been increased where as the change in energy intake is small (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).it is considered that the intake of fat both from vegetables and animal is drastically increasing each year. Data shows that from the diet, high income group consume 37% energy from fat as well as low income group consumes only 17%.Nutrition transition affects the women and children. Mal nutrition and obesity are the major problems seen among women (Sachdev et al, 2004). Overweight and Obesity seen among the higher class women where as malnourishment in the lower economic class women in the society (Griffiths & Paula, 2001). According to WHO, In India 1% of the preschool childhood is prone to obesity (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). As the situation goes on, India will be facing a dual challenge which is the biggest problems, i.e., overweight and malnourishment. There will be children with overweight where as the incidence of mortality and morbidity will be also increasing at the same time due to the malnutrition (Griffiths & Paula, 2001).

Since 1970’s, many national level surveys have been taken by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB), chiefly on the diet, nutrition and food consumption pattern of India (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). In the year of 1975-1995, the survey was conducted and the NNMB reported the advance in the sufficient calorie intake in India, where as there is a gradual decrease in the amount of intake of cereal and grains in the diet (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). It is believed that because of the heavy uptake of proteins and fat in the diet (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). Consumption of legumes and pulses which is an important source of vegetable protein in the routine diet of India has decreased dramatically (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).According to the Food Balance sheet data, the trend in the supply of animal product has increased from 7.0g in 1965 to 12.9gm in 1999.So the intake of energy in the diet is just double than needed. I.e. it increased to 192 kcal from 104 kcal per capita per day. The intake of high fat and energy content will result in Obesity and overweight (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).

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India is one of the biggest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, however much of this does not appear to be contemplated in the uptake (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). May be largely the effect of their production as cash crops for exports and sales (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).This situation can lead to the extent loss of soil and micronutrients that are not advantageous to local people (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). Economic development seems to contribute to improvement in intakes of legumes and veggies and these changes may be advantageous (Prakash & Shetty, 2002). But these changes with socioeconomic status are also frequently linked with less intakes of inferior quality cereal grain and increased dependence on highly polished varieties that may bring down the intakes of dietary fibre (Prakash & Shetty, 2002).

2.3. Changes in Physical Activity.

Due to the increased mechanisation in the world, the level of physical activity has been decreased. Humans are more relied on automatic machines and motor cars rather than manual operating system and bicycles (Singh et al, 2012). Decrease in the productive manual work and decreased energy spend in work leads to the development of diseases. Now days, the trend is like more leisure time and less working time (Singh et al, 2012). And most of the people spend their leisure time for the sedentary activities such as watching TV, computer games and so on, thus changing the construction of leisure time and encroaching on the time usually allocated to other activities including weekday sleep (Singh et al, 2012).


One of the largest food producing country in the world is India (Singh et al, 2012). But 21% of the total population is under nourished (Singh et al, 2012). About 300 million people struggle for meeting their meals 2 times a day (Singh et al, 2012).it shows the problem of receptiveness to the sufficient nutritive food to the poor class in past(Singh et al, 2012). The report suggest that between the period of 1960-2009, there is a dramatically decline in the public investment to the agriculture (Singh et al, 2012). Certain measures are taken by the government among the states in the country (Singh et al, 2012).

In India Public Distribution of Food is through FCI (Food Corporation Of India) (Singh et al, 2012). And through this system India reduced the risk of famine but the sufficiency, the quality and nutritive value of food is still a big challenge (Singh et al, 2012).The food management aims at processing food grains from farmers at profitable prices, supplying food grains to the consumers, especially the poor and the affected sections of the society at affordable prices and maintain food buffer for food security and price stability (Singh et al, 2012). The main important factor in public distribution system is minimum support price (MSP) and central issue price (CIP) (Singh et al, 2012). The uneconomical rise in the inventory of food grains with FCI has given rise to the overall economic cost of food grain to FCI and has had an untoward impression on the efficacy of food based safety nets in India (Singh et al, 2012).


In this review, I am attempting to establish some important determinants that characterize the nutrition and development transitions that is happening in a country like India. The transitions especially demographic, nutritional, epidemiological transitions affects the normal life pattern of the people and it changes the followed methods of consumption of food, physical activities, which leads to the path of sedentarism which leads to the greatest problems obesity and other non communicable diseases (Singh et al, 2012). There are some other factors contributing to the emergence of chronic diseases in India. Contamination of food sources of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and toxic contaminants is common in rapidly industrializing societies. Globalization of trade encourages cash crops for export and the consequent movement of important micronutrients, which are now not available to the local population and at the same time promotes increased vulnerability with agricultural production subjects to the pressing of global free trade and competition (Singh et al, 2012, p. 133). Thus, economic development contributes to increasing inequalities and exposure to factors that are harmful to health and may thus contributing to increasing NCD risk in developing societies in sudden developmental transition like India

The Government should plan of carrying on a continuous and exhaustive research to track the need and supply of food grains selling in the market. This would ensure future forecast onfoodprices and would facilitate the Governmentinpolicy making. Universalisation of food grain distribution needs an alternative clean and transparent/ PDS method other than through the FCI at the national level and Fair Price Shops at the bottom level. This calls for developing suitable operational policies for FCI to rationalize its buffer stocks, slowly unload more inventory of cereals and strengthening of the existing PDS by bringingin transparency andaccountabilityat the ultimate distribution point. This first step will improve supply situation and prevent price rise. Thus, while the proposed NFSA will address the supply driven distribution side of the food grains, the nation needs to develop an appropriate system of food management keeping in perspective the overall demand and supply situation.


  1. Prakash, Shetty. (2002).NutritionTransition in India.PublicHealth Nutrition. 5 (1), 175-82.
  2. Sachdev, HPS. (2004).Nutritionaltransition in theback drop of early life orgin of adult diseases: A challenge for the future.Indian journal ofmedical Research. 119 (4), iii-v.
  3. Griffiths, Paula, L. (2001). TheNutritionTransition is underway in India.The journal  ofNUTRITION. 131 (10), 2692-700
  4. Singh. (2012).Food securityin India’s issues and challenges.Anusandanika. 4 (2), 128-133.


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