The malnutrition-infection complex and its environment factors
Mata Jiménez, Leonardo
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Study of the genesis of malnutrition in contemporary traditional and transitional societies clearly reveals that malnutrition is a man-made condition or social disease. Apparently, malnutrition does not occur among wild animals living in small population groups (Van Lawick-Goodhall, 1970 appearing only as a consequence of congenital defects, injury, natural or man-made disaster or abrupt changes in climatic conditions which upset food supply and the ecosystem in general. It seems probable that ancestral man organized in small groups of hunters and gatherers did not suffer from endemic malnutrition as it is observed today in developing nations (Mata & Mohs, 1976). Feeding practices then ensured a varied diet, while the smallness of the tribe accounted for a rapid extinction of pathogenic organisms entering into the group once susceptibles became immune or died. Breast-feeding was customary as it still is in traditional societies (Mata, 1978), while ablactation probably was accompanied by a significant infant mortality which eliminated the less fit. Exposure to pathogenic micro-organisms depended on intertribal contacts, and experience with some agents was never gained. In fact, the pre-Columbian Amerindians, not knowing measles, smallpox and other debilitating infectious agents, became decimated once exposure to them was provided by Europeans (Dubos, 1959). The success of man in taming the environment and proliferating wherever he set foot eventually led to the establishment of sedentary societies, often near rivers. As they grew in size, a systematic and progressive elimination of wildlife, destruction of forests, erosion of soil and formation of barren soil and desert was ensured (Eckholm, 1976).
artículo (arbitrado) -- Universidad de Costa Rica, Instituto de Investigaciones en Salud. 1979
- Nutrición 
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