Drivers of Food Choice and Associated Factors in the Context of the Nutrition Transition in South India Open Access

Nadabar, Asha (Summer 2020)

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Objective: To identify the drivers of food choice associated with preferences for local or non-local (national or global) food items and to assess the familiarity and consumption of local, national, and global food items in the context of the nutrition transition in Vijayapura, India. 

Study Design: Adult males and females aged 18 years or older (n 936) in Vijayapura, India completed a cross-sectional survey, which included a socioeconomic module and food choice module. 

Methods: Descriptive statistics, t-tests, chi-square tests, and Fisher’s exact tests were used to examine familiarity and consumption of local, national, and global food items, as well as drivers of food choice, by sex and food category. Logistic regression was also conducted to evaluate associations between sociodemographic indicators and the most salient driver of food choice identified. 

Results: Across the six food categories, local/traditional food items were the most frequently consumed items by both males and females. When presented with alternative conditions, including taste, hunger, and health, the majority of participants still opted for the local food option versus national or global options. A comparison of the most frequently eaten item and selection given the alternative choice scenario showed that most people’s choices would reflect a difference in preference from local to non-local or non-local to local food items with little evidence of sex differences. There was variation in selection from local to nonlocal or vice versa depending on the combination of scenario and food category. Accessibility was reported as the prominent driver of food choice, with taste and healthfulness as the next most reported reasons.

Conclusion: The drivers of food choice and associated factors in a globalizing remote district in India reflects the phase of the nutrition transition. As India faces the dual burden of diseases, understanding the changing food environment can help address the growing nutrition-related non-communicable disease burden in the country through informed health promotion efforts. 

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Study Purpose 2

Literature Review 3

Nutrition Transition 3

Health Implications 3

Nutrition Transition in India 4

Food Choices 6

Conceptual Framework 9

Data & Methods 11

Study Setting & Population 11

Survey Instrument 12

Data Collection 12

Variables 13

Data Management 15

Statistical Analysis 18

Results 19

Sociodemographic Characteristics 19

Food Familiarity & Consumption 19

Food Choice 20

Discussion 22

Limitations 26

Strengths 27

Conclusions 27

References 29

Tables & Figures 32

Appendix 40

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