Nutrition, Activity Intensity and Wage Linkages: Evidence from Rural India

Katsushi Imai, University of Manchester
Samuel K. Annim, University of Cape Coast
Raghav Gaiha, University of Delhi
Veena S. Kulkarni, Arkansas State University

The present study addresses the recent paradoxical evidence that increasing levels of income have not been accompanied by noticeable improvements in the nutritional levels. The study examines the nutritional levels as measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI) by testing the twin hypotheses, a) activity hypothesis that intensity of the activity affects adult nutrition and b) poverty nutrition trap hypothesis postulating that wages affects nutritional status. The analyses draw upon three rounds of India DHS data and data from National Council of Applied Economic Research spanning the period between 1992 and 2006. Findings indicate strong support for both the hypotheses. Physically intensive activity tends to worsen the nutritional conditions. Additionally, there is evidence for the existence of poverty nutrition trap. After accounting for the sample selection bias and the endogenity of wages, unemployed and low wage earners are likely to be undernourished relative to those doing less physically intensive activities.

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Presented in Poster Session 3