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.


This blog was first published on the ANH academy website on 6th July 2017:

D J Nithya
Friday, July 7, 2017

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South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies



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