Open Access Timed activity studies for assessing the energy expenditure of women from an urban slum in South India

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Time-disposition studies are necessary for computing energy requirements of populations. This study captures the rich information on the timed activity pattern of adult women from poor households engaged in homebased work. We studied 34 women beedimakers (cigarette makers), 21 tailors, and 34 homemakers. Data were collected by direct observation of the women's activities on a typical day. Time spent on related activities was pooled and classified as sleep, household work, child care, occupational work, and residual work. These were further categorized on the basis of our published work on the energy cost of women's activities and the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of occupational activities as sedentary, moderate, and heavy. Most of the household activities could be classified as moderate to heavy (> 2.2 times basal metabolic rate [BMR]). Childcare activities were distributed on a scale from sedentary to heavy, whereas occupational activities, such as beedimaking and tailoring, were sedentary (< 2.2 BMR). Homemakers spent significantly more time on moderate to heavy work (p < .05 ) than beedimakers and tailors. Women working for income spent only four to six hours on occupational work, which was possible because they reduced the time spent on heavy work (i.e., housework), and reduced the time on personal care. Still, more than 80% of women could not put in eight hours of paid work. Thus, women in the home-based sector constantly negotiate among time spent on heavy household work, child care, and occupational work in order to continue in the labor market.
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  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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