Completed Project

Formulation of evidence-based and actionable dietary advice for pregnant and lactating women in Bhilwara, Rajasthan

Agency : IPE Global Limited

Team Goutam Sadhu, Ratna Varma, Sunita Nigam, SP Chattopadhyay, Rajeev Baghel, Shobana Sivraman, Deepanshu Srivastava

Indian women are at an increased risk of undernutrition whilst pregnant and lactating. Nearly 27 percent of the women in Rajasthan are undernourished and nearly half (47 percent) of the pregnant women were anemic (IIPS, 2016). This study’s aim was to collect data on local dietary patterns, availability of food, the cost of locally available foods in local markets etc. This project provides actionable dietary recommendations for pregnant and lactating women in Rajasthan to address dietary gap at a minimum cost. The objectives of the study were (i). to determine what pregnant women, eat during these periods and other details of eating habits-occasions, size of different meals etc, How is this different from their usual diet (when not pregnant or lactating), (ii). Identify gaps in their diets compared to the recommendations offered by WHO and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), (iii). Identify realistic and specific dietary advice/recommendations to address nutrients gaps using locally available foods and food products that are acceptable and affordable.

The study was conducted in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. Multistage proportionate techniques were used for collecting data. Structured open-ended 24 hours recall questionnaire was used to collect data from 720 respondents from 30 Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) across five blocks of the district. Analysis revealed that, 84 different food items consumed by the target groups, of which 35 were the source for one or more nutrient only. Final dietary pattern data indicated inadequate dietary intake, especially hunger pangs during pregnancy and lactation period among women. The study recommended the strong IEC and community participation measures by the state government involving the national level NGOs and development partners and supporting P&LW by cash incentive of at least INR 37 per day for pregnant women and INR 35 for lactating women, which will ensure pregnant and lactating women have the means to access a more diverse and balanced diet to meet RDA recommendation.