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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


PELCASTRE-VILLAFUERTE, Blanca et al. What to do to avoid death by starvation? Domestic dynamics and childhood feeding practices in a rural area of extreme poverty in Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2006, vol.48, n.6, pp.490-497. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare household dynamics in terms of structure, beliefs and nutrition-related behavior in the homes of malnourished and well-nourished children less than five years of age. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The authors carried out a qualitative ethnographic study using participant observation, and in depth interviews. Interviews were conducted with the child's caretaker or key informants, prior oral informed consent. Child care and childhood feeding practices at home and in the community were the focus of observations. The study included two periods of field work conducted in 2001, in three rural municipalities from the Río Balsas region, in Guerrero state, Mexico. The study's ethical and methodological aspects were approved by the National Research Commission of the Mexican Institute of Social Security. RESULTS: Households were differentially characterized by number of members, composition, type of relationship, source of income, and interactions among household members and with the community. CONCLUSION: Monoparental structures, in an early stage of the household cycle, give rise to conditions that render the child prone to malnutrition. Extended family structure represented more favorable household dynamics.

Keywords : household dynamics; nutrition practices; nutrition; poverty; Mexico.

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