Diet and nutritional status among cassava producing agriculturalists of coastal ecuador

William R. Leonard, Kathleen M. Dewalt, Jorge E. Uquillas, Billie R. Dewalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the correlates of dietary consumption and nutritional status among a sample of 43 cassava producing households of coastal Ecuador. Household energy consumption in the sample is marginally adequate and is substantially higher than that observed among coffee producing farmers from the same region (2459 vs. 1851 kcal/day). Cassava producing farmers also derive a much larger share of their diet from home produced foods (34% vs. 24% of energy intake). The more varied and adequate diet of the cassava sample is clearly reflected in children’s nutritional status. Children of the cassava sample have significantly higher height-for-age, weight-for-age and mid arm circumference measures than their counterparts from the coffee sample. Within the cassava sample, livestock ownership and per capita expenditures on market foods are the strongest and most consistent predictors of children’s nutritional status. Animal production appears to be particularly important since it is largely under female control and it provides both income and high quality food for home consumption. Overall, better dietary and nutritional status of the cassava sample relative to the coffee sample appears to be associated with a more adequate balance between income generation and subsistence production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994


  • Ecuador
  • Food consumption
  • cash cropping
  • farming systems
  • nutritional status
  • production
  • subsistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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