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Poverty and Malnutrition

Poverty and Malnutrition P V Sukhatme TEN years ago most of the malnutrition reported from nutrition surveys was believed to be the result of inadequate concentration and Quality of protein in the diet. So acute was believed to be the deficiency that developing countries were advised by the United Nations that unless immediate measures were taken to produce protein-rich foods and distribute them among children through special nutrition programmes, their economic, social and physical development would be completely arrested. Subsequent research however showed that the limiting factor in the diet of the developing countries was not protein, but energy. The latter depended primarily on the quantity of diet, which in turn were determined by the purchasing capacity of the people. The persistent nature of malnutrition thus came to be explained by the poverty of the people. So stark was the element of food in the deprivation of the people, that some 50 per cent of the people in India are estimated to be starving for want of adequate purchasing capacity. What is worse is that this proportion of the starving poor is reported to be rising. I am not, therefore, surprised that the problem of poverty and malnutrition continues to receive the active attention of the scholars, the press and the public.

Protein and Energy Requirements-A Reply to Rand and Scrimshaw

Protein and Energy Requirements A Reply to Rand and Scrimshaw P V Sukhatme IN an article entitled 'Protein and Energy Requirements', Rand and Scrimshaw (1984) have raised several questions concerning the hypothesis which I have put forward, jointly with my colleagues on the nature of human protein and energy requirements. The hypothesis is that requirement of an adult healthy individual, engaged in fixed tasks and maintaining body weight is self-reguiated over a wide, though limited tonge, determined by the interaction between individual (i e genotype) and environment. This hypothesis is contrary to the current theory according to which similar individuals have similar requirements but that the requirements of all individuals are fixed.

Measurement of Undernutrition

Measurement of Undernutrition P V Sukhatme OANDEKAR's recent paper [1] based on the Gopalan Oration delivered at the 14th Annual Conference of the Nutrition Society of India at Pune, will certainly restimulate keen interest among economists and planners. In this note, I will deal mainly with the major points raised by Dandekar; but in doing so, I will also ensure that I reply to the points raised by Krish- naji [2], which remained unanswered in my preoccupation with replying to Dandekar's Kale Memorial lecture [3, 4], Comparison of Calorie Inadequacy on Household and Individual Basis The first major point raised by Dandekar [1] concerns the comparison of estimates of calorie inadequacy of household and individual, based on National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau data. This comparison is presented in Table 2 of his paper [1]. The comparison shows that the two estimates of the incidence of undernutrition are around 40 per cent. If anything, the estimate based on the individual as the unit of observation is higher than the estimate based on the household as unit. He concludes that agreement between the two fully confirms the Dandekar and Rath estimate of rural poverty.

On Measurement of Poverty

nuclear scientists has only encouraged lite adoption of such an attitude, CONCLUSION Nuclear energy has raised in its wake a host of problems which need he solved before a nation can proceed to adopt it for power generation on a large scale. The peculiar characteristic of nuclear power, effects of which have to he considered for accounting even for periods when the nuclear plant has long ceased to operate, vitiates comparability with competing energy resources like coal-based power. Overplaying the promise of nuclear power has been at the cost of the development of coal technology.

Measuring the Incidence of Undernutrition-A Comment

Measuring the Incidence of Undernutrition A Comment P V Sukhatme I HAVE read N Krishnaji's note on "Measuring the Incidence of Undernutrition" (EPW, May 30) and have the following reply.

Nutrition Policy Need for Reorientation

P V Sukhatme This paper examines the premises underlying the nutrition policy in successive plans and concludes that they are based on a wrong understanding of the nutrition concepts.


The concept of health planning has become grossly distorted over successive five year plans; the Draft Five Year Plan, 1978-83, is no exception.

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