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J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3469-75.

Low income Russian families adopt effective behavioral strategies to maintain dietary stability in times of economic crisis.

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Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997, USA.


The social, political and economic reforms of 1992 in Russia led to a decade of rising income inequality, unemployment and economic crises, the most severe of which occurred in 1998. This study assesses dietary trends for children in low and high income households during this politically and economically unstable period from 1994 to 2000. Several possible food-related behaviors were also assessed to evaluate coping strategies adopted in the face of decreasing economic stability. Low income children maintained a steady energy intake per kilogram weight throughout the study period (251.0-259.4 kJ/kg), whereas intake for high income children increased significantly to a per capital average of 297.1 kJ/kg by 2000. At the food group level, the trend in per capita intake for all food groups was maintained for low income children except for a 22% decrease in meat and poultry consumption (P < 0.01). Per capita intake increased over time for dairy products and eggs in the high income group (P < 0.01). A decrease in cost per kJ (rubles/kJ) was observed for both low and high income families (P < 0.01). These data suggest that Russian households were able to conserve the diet structure for children by using what appear to be food-related behavioral mechanisms during periods of economic crisis.

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