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Reproductive Health, Nutritional Status, and Macroeconomic Shocks: A Multilevel, Quasi-Natural Experimental Analysis of Food Commodity Price Fluctuations

  • 2012-2014
  • Project
Stuckler, David, Cambridge University; Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI); London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Study: “Reproductive Health, Nutritional Status, and Macroeconomic Shocks: A Multi-Level, Quasi-Natural Experimental Analysis of Food Commodity Price Fluctuations”
PI(s): Stuckler, David
Co-PI(s): Ebrahim, Shah; McKee, Martin
Affiliation(s): Cambridge University; Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI); London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Institutional Partner(s): 2012 Joint RFP (PopDev)
Project Dates:
Start: 2012
End: 2014
Geographic Location(s): India

Global food price increases threaten to undermine progress in improving maternal and child health and nutrition. While there is strong evidence that maternal and fetal nutrition affect children’s development and survival, there is relatively little evidence linking aspects of reproductive health (e.g., breastfeeding, neonatal mortality) to the price and availability of nutritious food. This project aims to assess the affects of food commodity prices on reproductive and child health, specifically maternal and childhood nutrition, fetal development, neonatal mortality, and early-childhood development. It also aims to identify national, state, and household policy responses that may mitigate or exacerbate the reproductive and child-health effects of rising food prices. To fulfill these aims, the initial phase of the project will provide a detailed qualitative and quantitative multi-level, case study of India. The research will contribute to understanding how contemporary food and nutrition policies operating nationally, at state level, and household practices might mitigate negative health effects of escalating food prices on women and children’s health. The findings are particularly relevant to India, where a Food Security Bill is being debated to prevent such adverse effects, although critics have suggested the bill will maintain access to unhealthy foods, which will worsen rates of obesity and diabetes. The project’s engagement with local Indian NGOs and the Public Health Foundation of India, together with international foreign policy bodies like Chatham House, will help achieve wide dissemination of results and increase policy impact.

Research Outputs:

Agrawal, Sutapa et al. (2015). Adequately Diversified Dietary Intake and Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation during Pregnancy Is Associated with Reduced Occurrence of Symptoms Suggestive of Pre-Eclampsia or Eclampsia in Indian Women. PLoS ONE, 10(3): e0119120. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0119120

Fledderjohann, Jasmine et al. (2014). Do Girls Have a Nutritional Disadvantage Compared with Boys? Statistical Models of Breastfeeding and Food Consumption Inequalities among Indian Siblings. PLoS ONE 9(9): e107172. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107172

Fledderjohann, Jasmine et al. (2015). What do Indian children drink when they do not receive water? Prevalence of water and alternative beverage consumption from the 2005-2006 Indian National Family Health Survey. BMC Public Health 15(612) DOI: 10.1186/s12889-015-1946-4

Vellakkal, Sukumar et al. (2015). Food Price Spikes Are Associated with Increased Malnutrition among Children in Andhra Pradesh, India. The Journal of Nutrition. 8(145):1942-1949 DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.211250.

Vellakkal S, Subramanian SV, Millett C, Basu S, Stuckler D, Ebrahim S (2013) Socioeconomic Inequalities in Non-Communicable Diseases Prevalence in India: Disparities between Self-Reported Diagnoses and Standardized Measures. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68219. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0068219

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