Assessment and characterization of the diet of an isolated population in the Bolivian Andes

Publication Abstract

Berti, Peter R., Andrew Jones, Yesmina Cruz, Sergio Larrea, Ross Borja, and Stephan Sherwood. 2010. "Assessment and characterization of the diet of an isolated population in the Bolivian Andes." American Journal of Human Biology, 22(6): 741-749.

bjectives: The goal of this research is to characterize the composition and nutrient adequacy of the diets in the northern region of the Department of Potosí, Bolivia. Communities in this semiarid, mountainous region are isolated and impoverished having the highest rates of child malnutrition and under-five mortality in the Americas.

Methods: A total of 2,222 twenty-four-hour dietary recalls were conducted in 30 communities during May and November 2006 and May and November 2007. Food composition data were compiled from diverse published sources and integrated with the recall data to estimate intakes of energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and seven micronutrients. Diets were characterized in terms of food sources, seasonality, and nutrient adequacy.

Results: The diet relies heavily on the potato and other tubers (54% of dietary energy) and grains (30% of dietary energy). Although crop production is seasonal, off-season consumption of chuño helps to minimize seasonal fluctuations in dietary energy intake. Despite relative monotony, intakes of iron, vitamin C, most B vitamins, and vitamin A in adults are probably adequate; riboflavin, calcium, and vitamin A intakes in children are low. Nevertheless, extremely low dietary fat intakes (approximately 3–9% of dietary energy from fat) likely prevent adequate absorption of fat-soluble vitamins as well as lead to deficiencies of essential fatty acids.

Conclusions: Dietary inadequacies, especially of fats, may explain much of the poor health observed in northern Potosí. An improved diet may be possible through increasing production and intake of local fat-rich food sources such as small animals.

DOI:10.1002/ajhb.21075 (Full Text)

Country of focus: Bolivia.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Raghunathan et al. found behavioral treatment reduces urinary incontinence

Sarah Miller quoted in The New York Times

PSC trainee Ang with co-author find social media may reduce depression risk for older people with pain

More News

Highlights

Kowalski elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon)

Congratulations to Martha Bailey on being elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economics Association

More Highlights


Connect with PSC follow PSC on Twitter Like PSC on Facebook