Diet preferences

Health patterns

Print edition : March 30, 2018
The fourth National Family Health Survey unveils interesting data on the dietary preferences and nutritional status of a significant percentage of the population.

MORE than 70 per cent of women and nearly 80 per cent of men aged 15-49 in India consume fish or meat, according to data from the fourth National Family Health Survey, published recently by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. However, the frequency of consumption varies by State, religion, and caste. Besides, the percentage of men or women who consume fish or meat daily is barely six on an all-India basis. In contrast, the consumption of milk or curd, pulses or beans, and dark, green leafy vegetables was high across the board for both men and women, which offers an interesting insight into the dietary preferences of a good chunk of the nation's population.

Outside of the north-eastern States, West Bengal, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had a high proportion of people consuming fish or meat at least once a week, while Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had the lowest percentage.

Nutritional statistics showed that the prevalence of mildly or severely thin people was the highest among people in the population group aged 15-19, among both men and women, while the prevalence of excessive weight or obesity jumped after the age of 29, for both and men. Religionwise, Jain men and women had the highest percentage of overweight or obese people in their population.


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