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Analysing the Lazy Mother Argument Inspired by the Maggi Controversy

Evidence from Junk Food Intake in India

Arzi Adbi (arzi.adbi@insead.edu) is a doctoral student in the Department of Strategy at INSEAD, Singapore. Nafi s Faizi (nafi sfaizi.cn@amu.ac.in) is a faculty member in Community Medicine at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University. Chirantan Chatterjee (chirantan_ chatterjee@isb.edu) is a faculty member in Economics and Public Policy at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Is it “lazy,” “new-generation” working mothers who feed their children two-minute noodles and other junk food, as was suggested during the Maggi noodles controversy? Or is the junk food intake of adolescents related to the educational status of both parents in a transitioning economy, where education can directly or indirectly influence imitation of so-called Western-style fast food consumption patterns? This analysis of survey data from a non-metropolitan Indian setting shows that junk food intake of adolescents is actually lower for working mothers than for homemakers, decreases with an increase in the mother’s education, but increases with increase in the father’s education and with the household’s socio-economic status.

We sincerely thank the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, Aligarh, and the three public schools affi liated with Aligarh Muslim University, for allowing the cross-sectional survey of adolescent students. We are particularly grateful to the students and parents of the research site for their consent and participation in the study. We thank the editorial team at EPW and, in particular, we appreciate the anonymous reviewer’s valuable comments during the review process. The usual disclaimers apply.

Updated On : 13th Jul, 2017

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