Determinants of intra-household food allocation between adults in South Asia - a systematic review.
AbstractNutrition interventions, often delivered at the household level, could increase their efficiency by channelling resources towards pregnant or lactating women, instead of leaving resources to be disproportionately allocated to traditionally favoured men. However, understanding of how to design targeted nutrition programs is limited by a lack of understanding of the factors affecting the intra-household allocation of food. We systematically reviewed literature on the factors affecting the allocation of food to adults in South Asian households (in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and developed a framework of food allocation determinants. Two reviewers independently searched and filtered results from PubMed, Web of Knowledge and Scopus databases by using pre-defined search terms and hand-searching the references from selected papers. Determinants were extracted, categorised into a framework, and narratively described. We used adapted Downs and Black and Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklists to assess the quality of evidence. Out of 6928 retrieved studies we found 60 relevant results. Recent, high quality evidence was limited and mainly from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. There were no results from Iran, Afghanistan, Maldives, or Bhutan. At the intra-household level, food allocation was determined by relative differences in household members' income, bargaining power, food behaviours, social status, tastes and preferences, and interpersonal relationships. Household-level determinants included wealth, food security, occupation, land ownership, household size, religion / ethnicity / caste, education, and nutrition knowledge. In general, the highest inequity occurred in households experiencing severe or unexpected food insecurity, and also in better-off, high caste households, whereas poorer, low caste but not severely food insecure households were more equitable. Food allocation also varied regionally and seasonally. Program benefits may be differentially distributed within households of different socioeconomic status, and targeting of nutrition programs might be improved by influencing determinants that are amenable to change, such as food security, women's employment, or nutrition knowledge. Longitudinal studies in different settings could unravel causal effects. Conclusions are not generalizable to the whole South Asian region, and research is needed in many countries.
Harris-Fry, H <http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/view/creators/109116.html>; Shrestha, N; Costello, A; Saville, NM; (2017) Determinants of intra-household food allocation between adults in South Asia - a systematic review. Int J Equity Health <http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/view/publication/Int_J_Equity_Health.html>, 16 (1). p. 107. ISSN 1475-9276 DOI: 10.1186/s12939-017-0603-1 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12939-017-0603-1>