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To 57% Indians fruits and vegetable are "unaffordable", same is true of other lower income countries: Lancet

Counterview Desk
Classified as a low income country (LIC) and bracketed with Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, majority (57%) of India’s population, along with other LIC countries, finds vegetables “unaffordable”, says a top study released by world renowned health journal “Lancet”.
Based on what is called Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) survey of 1,47,938 participants in the age-group 35–70, the study also encompasses four lower- middle income countries (LMICs; China, Colombia, Iran, Occupied Palestinian Territory), seven upper-middle income countries (UMICs; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, Poland, Turkey, South Africa), and three high income countries (HICs; Canada, Sweden, United Arab Emirates).
Carried out between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2013, and titled “Availability, affordability, and consumption of fruits and vegetables in 18 countries across income levels: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study”, in all 29,421 participated in the survey in LIC, a great majority of whom were Indians, 25,448, followed by 2,185 from Bangladesh, 1,713 from Pakistan and just 75 from Zimbabwe.
Carried out on the basis of household income data, and authored by 36 health experts, seven of them from India, the study says, “The cost of one serving of vegetables relative to income per household member was more than 19 times higher in LICs than in HICs, and the relative cost of one serving of fruit was 50 times higher in LICs than in HICs.”
“The proportion of individuals who could not afford the recommended daily intake was highest in LICs (57·42%), compared with 25·42% in UMICs, 17·68% in LMICs, and 0·25% in HICs”, the study says, adding, “In all regions, unaffordability was higher in rural areas than in urban areas.”
Also, it says, “Across participants in all countries studied, mean fruit and vegetable intake was 3·76 servings. Mean daily consumption of fruits and vegetables was 2·14 servings in LICs, 3·17 servings in LMICs, 4·31 servings in UMICs, and 5·42 servings in HICs. Per-person gross national income was positively associated with fruit and vegetable intake.”
At the same time, the study says, “The absolute cost (adjusted by purchasing price parity) of one serving of vegetables was cheapest in LICs and most expensive in HICs”, the study says, adding, “Conversely, the adjusted cost of one serving of fruit was highest in LICs.”
“Absolute fruit cost was highest in communities of LICs, whereas vegetable cost was lowest in these communities adjusted by purchasing price parity)”, the study says, adding, “However, the costs of both fruits and vegetables (relative to household income) were substantially higher for individuals in countries with low gross national income than in other economic regions.”
“Furthermore, in LICs, households spend 29% and 11% of their income to purchase one serving of fruits and vegetables, respectively, and the dietary recommendation of two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day was unaffordable for 57% of individuals”, it underlines.
“Unsurprisingly, increased costs of fruits and vegetables relative to household income were associated with reduced consumption”, the study says, adding, “Households in LICs and LMICs spend a substantial proportion (roughly half) of their income on food (compared with 13% in HICs), with households in some countries (eg, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe) spending about two-thirds of their income on food.”

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