Protection of children from seasonal nutritional stress in an Andean agricultural community

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Patterns of seasonal variation in energy intake among small scale farmers (n = 112 individuals) of the highland community of Nunoa, Peru are examined. Marked seasonal fluctuations in energy consumption are demonstrated with average daily energy intakes being lowest during the last few months before harvest (January-April) when locally produced foods are in shortest supply. However, seasonal energy reduction does not affect all sectors of the population equally. Children (aged 12 years and under) show the least seasonal change in energy intake and appear to be protected from energy stress during the pre-harvest period. This pattern contradicts the generally held view that children are most severely affected under conditions of food scarcity because resources must be preferentially allocated to adult males. Hence, these results emphasize the need to examine further variation in responses to nutritional stress among human populations. It appears that such variation may be dependent upon (1) the nature of the subsistence economy, and (2) aspects of division of labour within populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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