A public health approach to the “Food-Malnutrition-Economic Recession” complex
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Mata Jiménez, Leonardo
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The authors in this volume disagree as to whether the current economic world recession and its accompanying adjustment policies affect nutrition and health. Based on the data presented throughout this volume and the discussions at the Takemi Symposium, I am not convinced that current world economic conditions have significantly changed the nutritional state and survival of children in less developed countries—except in certain regions of Africa. This is not to say that such an effect does not exist—economic adjustments made by nations at the macro level and by families at the household level might have acted as a buffer. Any serious attempt to correlate economic phenomena with nutrition and 'Tiealth must take into account certain fundamental variables not immediately obvious to economists and policymakers. Discussions of this topic, for example, may suffer from problems in data collection which are particular to the field of public health. In addition, if the concept of malnutrition is to be used in a discussion of economics, it must be precisely defined in biological terms, and what we know of its causes must be understood and considered. Health factors, including illness, and other sociological factors which cause malnutrition need to be described. To understand these variables we must step outside the realm of policymaking and the discipline of economics. This chapter discusses some of these variables and their effects on analyses of health, nutrition and economic policy.
Artículo científico -- Universidad de Costa Rica. Instituto de Investigaciones en Salud,1988