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Assessing food and nutrition security in Nepal: evidence from diet diversity and food expenditure patterns

Anjani Kumar, Ganesh Thapa, Ashok K. Mishra, P. K. Joshi
Food security 2020 v.12 no.2 pp. 327-354
developing countries, diet, food purchasing, households, models, nutrient deficiencies, nutrient requirements, nutritional adequacy, regression analysis, surveys, Nepal
The widespread prevalence of nutrient deficiency and poor nutritional outcomes has been a significant concern in developing and emerging countries like Nepal. The level of diversity in household diets is an indirect measure of diet quality and the extent to which nutritional needs of households are being met. However, there is a limited understanding on the trends, patterns and determinants of the dietary diversity in Nepal. This study is an attempt to enrich the literature on this issue. Based on unit level data from three rounds (1995, 2004, and 2011) of the Nepal Living Standard Survey (NLSS), we used multilevel modeling, quantile regression, and the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method to decipher the trends, determinants and drivers of dietary diversity in Nepal. Our study finds that the changes in household socio-demographic and agricultural characteristics are very important in explaining the improvement in dietary quality. Changes in household characteristics account for at least 37% of the observed improvement and agriculture-related changes explain at least 16% of the observed improvement. Our findings are highly robust across the different model specifications and concludes by bringing a focus on multi-sectoral approach to tackle nutrition issues in Nepal.