Barriers and facilitators to fruit and vegetable consumption among rural Indian women of reproductive age
This study (PDF) in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin aims to identify perceived barriers and facilitators to fruit and vegetable consumption among women of reproductive age living in rural communities in India. Micronutrient deficiencies have been a serious public health problem among women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries including India, adversely affecting maternal and child health and human capital outcomes. Fruit and vegetables are important sources of micronutrients, and consumption of these foods is less than recommendations. The study revealed that women knew that fruit and vegetables were beneficial to health and expressed that they wanted to increase the intake of these foods for themselves and their children. Seven main themes were identified as being barriers or facilitators to fruit and vegetable consumption: (1) personal factors, (2) household dynamics, (3) social and cultural norms, (4) workload, (5) time pressures, (6) environmental factors, and (7) cost. At the household level, it would be important to increase awareness and change attitudes among all family members around ensuring that women are adequately nourished and rested. At the community level, the conceptions should be tackled about indigenous green leafy vegetables that are nutritious and grow abundantly in these areas, but that are considered to be unfit for consumption. In terms of environmental and economic factors, it is of course essential to address the access availability, affordability, and sustainability issues. The majority of rural poor in India rely on markets to obtain fruit and vegetables; therefore, supply-side interventions will be necessary to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables. Poverty and lack of employment for the rural population must be addressed at the district, state, and national levels. Migration to cities is increasing, and there must be an incentive for people to remain in rural areas and a means for them to earn a living wage.