Grandmothers’ perspectives on the changing context of health in India

In a newly published article in BMC Research Notes, Solveig Argeseanu Cunningham and colleagues investigated the perspectives of grandmothers on the changing context of health in India.


Background: The prevalence of obesity and other chronic diseases is increasing in India and around the world. As globalization and social changes are believed to be at the root of these epidemiological changes, these factors must be better understood. This study engaged older adults to gain an important perspective on globalization and health.

Methods: A free-list instrument and a structured survey were developed and used to gather data on changes in diet, activity, and women’s roles from ten grandmothers in rural India.

 Results: Grandmothers indicated that household chores and food preparation are less labor-intensive and time-consuming due to mechanization and the availability of prepared foods than a generation earlier. Families are more often eating food out, bringing prepared food home, and using ready-made food mixes; adolescents are continuing to eat meals at home, but now snack with friends outside the home more frequently.

Conclusions: Using both a free-list instrument and a structured survey, grandmothers were able to provide insights about the changing context of dietary patterns and family roles arising with globalization that may be contributing to the rise in chronic disease.


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