Relationship between childhood diseases and food avoidances in rural south india

Malathi Sivaramakrishnan, Vimla L. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the selection of foods for children by mothers in rural South India. The mothers' explanations of the reasons for food avoidances were verbally recorded and analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods used in cognitive psychology. The results revealed that the choice of foods considered as suitable for consumption by the child was governed by concerns related to three major childhood health problems, thokam, mandham <& perali, and karpan rather than by the food categories (for example, the ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ foods). The interpretations of the health problems were based on the traditional theories of Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine prevalent in India. The implications of these findings with respect to child nutrition and nutrition education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalEcology of food and nutrition
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1993


  • Food selection
  • India
  • Siddha medicine
  • childhood diseases
  • food avoidance
  • mothers
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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