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O Estudo de Nutricao das Populacoes de Cabo Verde

By Luis Alberto Cecilio Rocha

Abstract

The purpose of the nutritional assessment of a Community is to define the burden and the geographical distribution iof malnutrition, while a Public Health problem, to delineate the relevant ecological factors and, if possible, to suggest adequate corrective measures. This is only possible by adopting a multidisciplinary approcah, beyond the narrow medical field, to include phenomena ranging from production to nutrient metabolism. Nutritional status is usually evaluated on the basis of anthropometric, clinical and bio-chemical parameters, with particular relevance to anthropometry. A greater understanding of the chain of events ensuing from nutritional deficients, has resulted in new specific methods for earlier diagnosis. Nevertheless, operational and economical obstacles have delayed the introduction of these new technologies in the poorest countries of the Third World. The Cabo Verde Islands have suffered repeated famines throughout the centuries, well documented in History, Literature and Music. At present, the country has been living through a drought since 1968, resulting in great dependence on extrenal food aid. In some of the Islands there exist adequate conditions for the utilization of advanced technologies for nutritional evaluation. In 1982-83 the author conducted a population based nutrional evaluation in two Islands - Sao Vicente and Fogo. The growth curves obtained indicated a growth pattern progressively below anglo-saxonic standards until adolescence, from when a partial recovery is seen until adulthood. Other data suggest that these patterns should not be interpreted as reflecting a greater prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition in school going children, limiting the value of estimates of prevalence in children over four years of age. The clinical examination allowed to suspicion of vitamin deficiencies and laboratory tests confirmed frequent anemia, iron deficiency, as well as deficiencies of vitamin A, ascorbic acid, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and, less frequently, of proteins and thiamine. A dietary survey revealed a cereal and dried leguminous based diet, with an adequate apportioning of the energy per nutrient category - proteins, lipids and carbohydrates - but a suboptimal intake of energy, vitamins and minarals. Some feasible interventions were suggested, namely iron fortification of food and supplementation of the diet with vitamin AAvailable from Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia, Servico de Informacao e Documentacao, Av. D. Carlos I, 126, 1200 Lisboa / FCT - Fundação para o Ciência e a TecnologiaSIGLEPTPortuga

Topics: 05T - Health services, health administration, community care services
Year: 1987
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Provided by: OpenGrey Repository
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