Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Child malnutrition caused by more than lack of food

Date:
May 1, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
Giving poor families land on which to grow crops has been shown to improve child nutrition. New research also shows that giving families non-agricultural land and better housing also is beneficial for children's growth and nutrition.

Giving poor families land on which to grow crops has been shown to improve child nutrition. New research also shows that giving families non-agricultural land and better housing also is beneficial for children's growth and nutrition.

Related Articles


Results of the study of child malnutrition in rural Guatemala were presented on May 1, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.

Guatemala's rural populations suffer from one of the most unequal land distributions in Latin America. About 2 percent of the population owns 70 percent of all productive farmland. To remedy this, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have raised money to buy private land and donate it to poor farmers so they can grow crops. However, urbanization and lack of land have led NGOs to distribute land for housing instead of farming.

Asya Agulnik, MD, MPH, and her colleagues looked at the effects of this change in land distribution on child health in coffee-growing areas of Guatemala. Researchers compared child malnutrition rates in five villages, four of which received non-agricultural land and brick houses in organized communities, along with improved sanitation. Families in the fifth community continued to live in squatter settlements on plantations.

Using WHO growth curves, investigators compared weight-for-age measurements of 242 children in these communities before and after the land distribution.

Before the moves, about 37 percent of children younger than 38 months were moderately malnourished, while just over 7 percent were severely malnourished. Twenty months after families received land and houses, malnutrition rates dropped among children in the same age group; roughly 19 percent were diagnosed with moderate malnutrition, and 5 percent were severely malnourished. Older children who were not breastfeeding at the time their family received land allotments and housing experienced the greatest nutritional benefit.

Meanwhile, children who remained in squatter settlements experienced worsening malnutrition.

"Malnutrition is a major problem for the health of children under 5 years of age in rural Mayan Guatemalan villages," said Dr. Agulnik, lead author of the study and a resident at Children's Hospital Boston. "This study demonstrates that in areas where land scarcity is a major problem, land distributions supporting improved housing and community organization can improve child nutrition without changing a family's income. It also suggests that in our population, living conditions, sanitation, crowding and community organization play a major role in causing child malnutrition."

The study underscores the fact that childhood malnutrition is not only about food, said study co-author Paul Wise, MD, MPH, FAAP, who created a program at Stanford University in California called Children in Crisis to improve health care to children living in politically unstable regions. "While this study documents the terrible toll of poverty on child health, it also emphasizes the interaction between the child, infections, community life and the exercise of political power."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Pediatrics. "Child malnutrition caused by more than lack of food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110501183647.htm>.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011, May 1). Child malnutrition caused by more than lack of food. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110501183647.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Child malnutrition caused by more than lack of food." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110501183647.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins