OBJECTIVE: To elucidate gender differences in dietary intake among adults in lowland Nepalese communities.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: For 122 male and 195 female subjects aged 20 years and over from 94 randomly selected households, interviews using a 19-item food frequency questionnaire were conducted. To determine the portion sizes of these foods, the samples consumed by 56 subjects in a full 1-day period were weighed. Energy expenditure was estimated by time spent on daily activities.
RESULTS: Gender differences in per-day energy and protein intakes were related to sex differences in body size and energy expenditure. Apparent gender differences in the crude intakes disappeared when they were expressed by nutrient density (mg or microg/MJ) since micronutrient intakes were significantly correlated with energy intake. However, males' iron intake was larger even after adjustment for energy intake, attributing to their larger portion sizes of commonly consumed staple foods and higher frequencies of consuming luxury foods (fish and tea).
CONCLUSION: The intrahousehold unequal distribution of food incurs risk of iron deficiency among female subjects.
SPONSORSHIP: This study was financially supported by the Ajinomoto Foundation for Dietary Culture and the Alliance for Global Sustainability Program.