Assessing the rural food environment for advancing sustainable healthy diets: Insights from India

Kumar, S and Das, A and Kasala, K and Ridoutt, B and Patan, E K and Bogard, J and Ravula, P and Pramanik, S and Lim-Camacho, L and Nedumaran, S (2023) Assessing the rural food environment for advancing sustainable healthy diets: Insights from India. Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. ISSN 2311-2476 (In Press)

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World agricultural production has seen significant growth in the past four decades, yet malnutrition remains a persistent problem, particularly in the global south and more so in the rural areas. Need for a holistic approach to food systems is becoming crucial in designing policies that support the transition to sustainable and healthy diets. The present study is aimed to understand the rural food environment in the Telangana state in southern India by analyzing the combination of external and personal factors affecting food choices, attitudes, and consumption behavior. We developed a scoring-based methodology to assess the external and personal domains and dimensions to understand the food environment. The results showed that rural households favored carbohydrate-rich food groups obtained mostly from their own production or subsidized sources. On the other hand, protein and micronutrient-rich food groups were neglected due to affordability and preference for taste, cultural factors, and the limitations of external food environment. The findings of this study provide a deeper understanding of the food environment in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) conext. By highlighting the interplay between agriculture, food environments, and nutrition outcomes, this study contributes to the ongoing effort to address the global malnutrition crisis and support the development of healthier and more sustainable food systems. These findings can be useful to guide policy actions towards achieving food security and nutrition in the rural regions where food environments are under rapid transitions in the LMICs.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Global Research Program - Enabling Systems Transformation
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food Environment, Food Systems, Sustainable, Food Choices, Healthy Diets
Subjects: Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Food Security
Others > India
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2023 06:13
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2023 06:13
Official URL:
Projects: VDSA (Grant ID- 51937)
Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through VDSA (Grant ID- 51937), CRP Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) through CGIAR Fund Donors, bilateral funding agreements.
Acknowledgement: The authors thank Dr. Anthony Whitbread for facilitating collaboration between the ICRISAT and CSIRO teams. We also thank Mr. Mohammed Ismail for his support in preparing the maps
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