Intrahousehold distribution of food: A review of the literature and discussion of the implications for food fortification programs
Author: Berti, Peter R.
Source: Food & Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 33, Supplement 2, September 2012 , pp. 163S-169S(7)
Abstract:Background. The selection of food vehicles and fortification levels in food fortification programs may be made on the assumption of equitable intrahousehold distribution of food. There are concerns that biased intrahousehold distribution of food will make food-based interventions ineffective or unsafe.
Objective. To review available data documenting intrahousehold energy intake (as a proxy for food distribution) in low- and middle-income countries, and discuss the relevance for food fortification programs.
Methods. A literature search was done, selecting reports from low- and middle-income countries that included dietary data from adults and children. The references of relevant reports and all citations of relevant reports were scanned. Intrahousehold distribution of dietary energy was compared with individual energy requirements.
Results. Twenty-eight studies were identified covering 18 countries with as few as 20 and as many as 3,000 households per study. Intrahousehold distribution of food in most countries is relatively equitable, within a 20% margin.
Conclusions. Within the limits of the available data, and in the absence of contrary data, it is reasonable to assume equitable intrahousehold distribution of food when designing food fortification programs; however, for program evaluation, individual assessment of intake is still needed.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 2012
- Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation in association with the United Nations University. 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.
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