An extended nationwide lockdown and stoppage of economic activities resulting from COVID-19 caused substantial loss of income for many families in Bihar, India. One of the significant implications is a food shortage in households and a reduction in food intake. This nutrition shock may hit females harder than males due to the deep-rooted gendered culture prevalent in India. This study's key objectives are to understand the extent of food shortage in households, any changes in food intake, and coverage of government nutrition schemes. Half of the households in Bihar reported food shortages in the past month, causing most to reduce food intake; overall, three out of five reported reduced food intake. Support from government nutrition schemes such as take-home rations for pregnant women and small children, and midday meals for school-going children need to improve coverage. As noted in this brief, food shortage during the lockdown and the resulting reduction in food intake were reported more commonly by marginalized populations and people who lost income than others.
UNICEF and Population Council Institute. 2020. "Effects of COVID-19 on nutrition in Bihar," COVID-19 Research Results Brief #4. New Delhi: UNICEF and Population Council.
Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic; Understanding the Lives of Adolescents and Young Adults (UDAYA)