Seasonal changes in energy balance of rural Beninese women

J.W. Schultink

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


This thesis reports on human energy balance in relation to seasonal changes in food availability of rural populations in developing countries.<p>Body weight measurements were carried out every two weeks among Beninese subsistence farmers who live in two different climatological zones (one and two rainy seasons). Significant seasonal weight changes occurred in both areas, but preharvest weight loss in the area with one rainy season (about 3 kg) was larger than in the area with two rainy seasons (about 1.9 kg). Correlation existed between body mass index and preharvest weight loss, suggesting that people with larger body size loose more weight.<p>Basal metabolic rate (BMR), physical activity pattern, physical activity level (PAL) and energy intake (EI) were measured during three succesive seasons in women with a BMI&lt;18 (n=18) and BMI>23 (n=16) and in women who had shown small (n=18) and large (n=15) pre-harvest weight loss in a previous year. Aim was to investigate whether changes in metabolic efficiency or changes in activity pattern may occur in individuals in order to prevent large seasonal weight loss. EI decreased by 160-260 kcal/day during the pre-harvest season in all groups. Physical activity pattern showed seasonal changes but the resulting PAL did not change throughout the year in any of the four groups. BMR of women with BMI&lt;18 was significantly reduced by 3% during the pre-harvest season and BMR of very thin women with BMI&lt;17 (n=5) was reduced by 12%. It was concluded that individuals use different adaptive mechanisms in order to decrease energy expenditure. Most important mechanism is by lowering body weight. only lean people who can hardly afford to loose weight may increase metabolic efficiency.<p><TT></TT>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hautvast, J.G.A.J., Promotor
  • van Raaij, J.M.A., Promotor
Award date18 Jan 1991
Place of PublicationS.l.
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • nutrition
  • energy requirements
  • nutritive value
  • food
  • foods
  • food composition
  • quality
  • properties
  • women
  • benin

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal changes in energy balance of rural Beninese women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this