Nutritional determinants of high‐altitude growth in nuñoa, Peru

William R. Leonard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Data on nutritional intake and patterns of physical growth in the rural Andean community of Nuñoa, Peru (elevation 4,000 m), are described and compared to data previously collected from this location. Food consumption data and selected anthropometric measures were obtained from a sample of 33 households. Estimates of caloric intake from this study are very similar to those obtained in Nuñoa during the mid‐ and late 1960s. However, within the present sample, upper income (i.e., middle class) individuals have significantly higher caloric intakes than those of the lower income group and also appear to have an improved diet relative to individuals of 20 years ago. Anthropometric data show that children of the upper socioeconomic status (SES) group are significantly taller and heavier than the lower SES group children. Moreover, the children of the wealthier families are taller and heavier than the children measured 20 years ago at the same location, whereas the poorer children are not. These results indicate that nutritional factors have significantly contributed to the extreme pattern of slow growth previously reported for children of Nuñoa and, moreover, demonstrate how social and environmental forces interact to create differential levels of stress that contribute to variation in biological well‐being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1989


  • Body size
  • Nutritional stress
  • Quechua
  • Seasonality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Anatomy


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