Ecological correlates of dietary consumption and nutritional status in highland and coastal ecuador

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the patterns of variation in food availability and nutritional status among small-scale farmers from highland and coastal regions of Ecuador. Dietary adequacy is greater among households of the highland sample and appears to be associated with higher consumption of foods from subsistence production. Energy consumption is marginal in the coastal sample where farmers are involved in the production of coffee as a cash crop. Households on the coast rely on inexpensive market foods and obtain less than a quarter of their energy from home-produced items. Early childhood growth is poor in both regions. In the highland sample, older children have relatively better nutritional status, whereas nutritional status declines in the older cohorts of the coastal sample. Children's nutritional status (weight-for-age and weight-for-height) is correlated with household dietary adequacy in the highland sample; in the coastal group, per capita income is the strongest correlate of nutritional status. These results highlight important differences in the correlates of dietary consumption and nutritional status among small-scale producers in two distinct farming systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-85
Number of pages19
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1993


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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