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Journal Article

Wild foods contribute to women’s higher dietary diversity in India


Cheek,  Jennifer Zavaleta
External Organizations;


Lambrecht,  Nathalie
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

den Braber,  Bowy
External Organizations;

Akanchha,  Nirali
External Organizations;

Govindarajulu,  Dhanapal
External Organizations;

Jones,  Andrew D.
External Organizations;

Chhatre,  Ashwini
External Organizations;

Rasmussen,  Laura Vang
External Organizations;

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Cheek, J. Z., Lambrecht, N., den Braber, B., Akanchha, N., Govindarajulu, D., Jones, A. D., Chhatre, A., Rasmussen, L. V. (2023): Wild foods contribute to women’s higher dietary diversity in India. - Nature Food, 4, 476-482.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28563
Wild foods, from forests and common lands, can contribute to food and nutrition security. Most previous studies have established correlations between wild food consumption and children’s dietary diversity in Africa, but other groups and geographic contexts remain understudied. Here a rigorous quasi-experimental method was combined with monthly interval data to assess the contribution of wild foods to women’s diets. We collected 24 h diet recall data monthly, from November 2016 to November 2017, from 570 households in East India. We found that wild foods contributed positively to diets, especially in June and July (when consumption of wild foods was highest). Women who consumed wild foods had higher average dietary diversity scores (13% and 9% higher in June and July, respectively) and were more likely to consume nutrient-dense, dark-green leafy vegetables than those who did not. Our results underscore the importance of policies that increase knowledge of wild foods and protect people’s rights to access forests and other common lands for improved nutrition.