Indigenous Foods to Address Malnutrition: An Inquiry into the Diets and Nutritional Status of Women in the Indigenous Community of Munda Tribes of Jharkhand, India

Suparna Ghosh-Jerath, Ridhima Kapoor, Ashish Bandhu, Archna Singh, Shauna Downs, Jessica Fanzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Indigenous people globally experience poor nutrition outcomes, with women facing the greater burden. Munda, a predominant tribe in Jharkhand, India, live in a biodiverse food environment but yet have high levels of malnutrition. Objectives: To assess diets and the nutritional status of Munda tribal women and explore associations with their Indigenous food consumption, dietary diversity, and socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Methods: A cross-sectional study with a longitudinal component to capture seasonal dietary intake was conducted in 11 villages of the Khunti district, Jharkhand. Household surveys and FFQs, supplemented with 2-d 24-h dietary recall and anthropometric assessments on 1 randomly selected woman per household were conducted. Results: Limited access to diverse foods from a natural food environment (Food Accessed Diversity Index score of 0.3 ± 0.3) was observed. More than 90% women in both seasons had usual nutrient intakes below the estimated average requirements for all nutrients except protein and vitamin C; 35.5% of women were underweight. The mean Minimum Dietary Diversity Score among women (MDDS) was low [2.6 ± 0.6 in wet monsoon; 3 ± 0.7 in winters (acceptable ≥5)]. Higher MDDS contributed to higher usual nutrient intakes (P <0.001). Indigenous food intakes in both seasons (wet monsoon and winter) were low, e.g. Indigenous green leafy vegetables [10.5 and 27.8% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI), respectively], other vegetables (5.2% and 7.8% of RDI, respectively), and fruits (5.8 and 22.8% of RDI, respectively). Despite low intakes, the Indigenous food consumption score was positively associated with usual intake of vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin C, pyridoxine, and calcium (P < 0.05) in the wet monsoon and thiamine, riboflavin, and zinc (P < 0.001) in winters. After adjusting for covariates, Indigenous food consumption was associated with a higher usual intake of vitamin A (P < 0.001) in the wet monsoon season. Conclusion: Contextual food-based interventions promoting Indigenous foods and increasing dietary diversity have the potential to address malnutrition in Munda women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzac102
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Volume6
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Indian tribal women
  • Munda women
  • dietary diversity
  • indigenous communities
  • indigenous food consumption
  • nutrient intake
  • nutritional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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