Anjali Rao

Dietary diversity and its determinants among rural adolescents from Pune, India

Doctorate: PhD in Nutrition Sciences, University of Pune, 2015
Current Employment: Senior Research Associate, KEM Hospital Pune
Home Mentor: Prof. Chittaranjan S Yajnik, KEM Hospital Research Centre, Pune · 
Host Mentor: Prof. Elaine Rush, Auckland University of Technology 

Short biography:

Anjali is a trained nutrition and health researcher in the field of maternal and child health and holds a PhD in Nutrition and Health Sciences from the Savitribai Phule University of Pune (Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences). Her PhD work at Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, under the guidance of Dr. Shobha Rao focused on dietary calcium during pregnancy and its association with size at birth and metabolic risk in offspring’s of wistar rats.

Anjali’s research interests focus on nutrition and body composition, especially in relation to maternal and child health. Anjali has also been involved in a range of projects at the Diabetes Unit, KEMHRC, under Prof Yajnik. She has been involved in longitudinal population based studies on nutrition, body composition, and metabolism, glycemic index measurements, nutritional supplementation studies, etc. She is a recipient of the Asian Research Fellowship during which she received training to measure energy expenditure using different techniques at National Institute of Health Nutrition, Japan. Anjali is also visiting faculty at different universities for nutrition, food sciences and community nutrition. 

Project summary:

My project will aim to develop a tool to measure dietary diversity in the Indian population. For this purpose I will use data collected in the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study (PMNS) which is the flagship birth cohort of the Diabetes Unit, KEM Hospital, Pune.
In the IMMANA study, data collected at the 18year PMNS follow-up in young men and women will be explored to develop and validate measures of dietary diversity. Currently there are few studies which validate dietary diversity score using blood biomarkers. PMNS allows us to do this in the proposed study because dietary intake and circulating levels for these micronutrients are available. Additionally, as the data collection has been conducted in rural settings where agriculture is the main occupation, it will be possible to study how dietary diversity is associated with agricultural practices and socio-economic status. The study will also explore gender specificities in these associations.

Results of the study will provide metric solutions to measure dietary diversity, its determinants (agricultural practices and socio-economic status) and suggest simple solutions to improve dietary diversity and agricultural practices.