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Physical activity, time allocation, and food intake among adolescents from lower caste groups in rural Telangana, India

Gowdru, N., Zanello, G. ORCID: and Cherukuri, R. (2023) Physical activity, time allocation, and food intake among adolescents from lower caste groups in rural Telangana, India. In: Advances in Food Security and Sustainability. Elsevier. (ISSN: 2452-2635)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/bs.af2s.2023.07.005


In India, caste continues to have a strong association with social class and it plays a visible and critical role in influencing societal, institutional, and household factors, which in turn affect adolescents’ health and nutrition. This study examines intra- and inter-caste differences in physical activity, time use, and food intake among lower-caste adolescents in rural India and contextualizes the results within the local and national policy landscape. Using a mixed-methods design, the study integrates data from wearable activity trackers and key informant interviews to provide comprehensive insights into the lives of 400 rural adolescents in two rural districts in Telangana state. Results disentangle the relationship between lower castes and patterns of time use, physical activity, and calorie adequacy. We find that differences in energy intake and patterns of time use drive differences in the caloric adequacy ratio between castes, particularly among late-adolescent girls. Scheduled Caste (SC) adolescents spend more time and energy on educational activities, while Backward Caste (BC) adolescents spend more time on unpaid economic activities. Within castes, asset endowments appear to mitigate differences in time allocation and energy expenditure. These findings underscore the role of caste in defining pathways to health and nutrition and highlight the need for policy interventions that consider the occupational patterns, physical activity demands, and constraints on access and utilization of resources and infrastructure associated with caste.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:113451

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