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Disentangling women's responses on complex dietary intake patterns from an Indian cross-sectional survey: a latent class analysis

  • Sabu S Padmadas (a1), José G Dias (a2) and Frans J Willekens (a3)

Abstract

Objective

To investigate the degree of individual heterogeneity related to complex dietary behaviour and to further examine the associations of different dietary compositions with selected characteristics.

Design

Latent class analysis was applied to data from the recent cross-sectional National Family Health Survey that collected information on the intake frequency of selected foods. Different responses regarding intake frequency were condensed into a set of five meaningful latent clusters representing different dietary patterns and these clusters were then labelled based on the reported degree of diet mixing.

Setting

Indian states.

Subjects

In total, 90 180 women aged 15–49 years.

Results

Three clusters were predominantly non-vegetarian and two were vegetarian. A very high or high mixed-diet pattern was observed particularly in the southern and a few north-eastern states. Many women in the very high mixed-diet cluster consumed mostly non-green/leafy vegetables on a daily basis, and fruits and other non-vegetarian diet on a weekly basis. In contrast, those in the low mixed-diet cluster consumed more than three-fifths of the major vegetarian diet ingredients alone on a daily basis. The affluent group that represented the low mixed-diet cluster were primarily vegetarians and those who represented the very high mixed-diet cluster were mostly non-vegetarians. The significant interrelationships of different characteristics highlight not only socio-economic, spatial and cultural disparities related to dietary practices, but also the substantial heterogeneity in diet mixing behaviour.

Conclusions

The results of this study confirmed our hypothesis of heterogeneous dietary behaviour of Indian women and yielded useful policy-oriented results which might be difficult to establish otherwise.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email ssp@socsci.soton.ac.uk

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Disentangling women's responses on complex dietary intake patterns from an Indian cross-sectional survey: a latent class analysis

  • Sabu S Padmadas (a1), José G Dias (a2) and Frans J Willekens (a3)

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