Deficiency and Sources of Nutrition among an Indian Tribal Population
This paper is an attempt to explore the relationship between protein consumption and BMI for the adult Santhals, a tribal community of West Bengal, India. For this purpose, a cross sectional sample of 1262 adult Santhals were measured. A high incidence (46.9%) of chronic energy deficiency (CED) is observed. A low production of protein rich food items such as pulses, poultry and fishing within their own economy reveal that the barter system fails to provide enough protein rich food items for the community. Along with this, low income earning opportunities lead to a low consumption of protein rich food and hence a high incidence of undernutrition. The occupational pattern reveals that the Santhals who derive livelihood by the means of hard physical activities are more prone to develop CED. The study suggests that the overdependence on forests and their own economy for consumption needs may not be helping this community in attaining a better health status.
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