Food and nutrition insecurity in northern Benin : impact on growth performance of children and on year to year nutritional status of adults

E.A.D. Ategbo

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


<p>The purpose of the study was to examine the consequences of a substantial nutritional stress, created by an unimodal climate on the energy balance of adults and on children's growth. Coping strategies of adults, at an individual level, with the seasonal fluctuations in food availability were also considered.</p><p>Body weight was measured during three consecutive years among members of subsistence households. Weight changes occur between pre and post-harvest periods. Size of weight loss was moderate and comparable to weight loss reported for farmers in areas with less substantial seasonal fluctuations in food availability. The year to year repeatability of seasonal weight change may be mainly influenced by factors which are not regulated by rainfall pattern. Among children aged 2 to 9 years, growth performances were depressed during pre-harvest periods. Growth velocities attained during post-harvest periods can not be considered as catch up growth. When compared with the reference, growth velocities slowed down with increasing age. Prevalence of stunting was high and stable at about 30%.</p><p>Resting metabolic rate, activity pattern, energy cost of cycling and food intake were measured during two consecutive years in a subgroup of 45 women. Resting metabolic rate and energy cost of cycling were stable throughout the year. Changes in activity pattern result in increased energy expenditure in pre-harvest periods. Energy, protein and iron intakes were adequate to cover the yearly needs. However, the bioavailability of iron in the local diet needs further study. Intake of retinol equivalents was below the recommended dietary allowance during pre- and post-harvest periods, and it is unknown whether the excessive intake during the intermediate period can produce adequate body stores for the whole year's needs.</p><p>It is concluded that the stress on energy balance created by an unimodal climate may result in a modest weight change and does not necessarily result in metabolic or behavioural adaptation. However, the present study suggests that the growth of children is substantially depressed by the seasonal food shortage.</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hautvast, J.G.A.J., Promotor
  • van Raaij, J.M.A., Promotor
Award date21 Jun 1993
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054851325
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • food hygiene
  • nutritional state
  • consumption patterns
  • food
  • foods
  • child nutrition
  • infant nutrition
  • benin


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