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Comparative advantages of contrasting biological responses to energy deprivation of third world farmers


This project addresses the linkages between labour, production and food consumption and intends to investigate the biological and behavioural implications of different responses to energy shortage with two objectiVes: 1. Establish the BMI cut-off point at Which under-priviliged CED adults respond to demands of increased energy output by defending the stability of body Weight and energy reserves at the cost of work productivity; 2. Contribute to the understanding of the human linkages between production and food consumption, and of the mechanisms by which the impact of seasonal food shortages may be amplified in deprived households. From the findings of previous studies, it appears that lean marginally nourished populations defend a constant body weight even at the expenses of lower physical activity, Whose implications in productivity terms are totally unknown. The plan is to perform a comparative study of the functional performance and work output of the tall and relatively well nourished Benin farmer with wide seasonal fluctuations of body Weight, and the shorter, marginally nourished rural Indian whose l0w body weight is closely maintained throughout the year. The survey will cover a larger sample of 200 households in each country whose body weight fluctuations will be closely monitored over 1 year. Two subsamples (50 subjects) will be selected in each country on the basis of body size, degree of variability of body weight, level of energy output. on these subjects, energy intake, work capacity and time use wiLl be measured repeatedly at critical times of the year. on the India subjects, whose stability of body
weight presupposes subtle behavioural and physiological changes, a wider set of measures will be needed in order to capture the nature of the mechanisms regulating work output under conditions of tight control of energy balance (body composition, total energy output, BMR, immunological status, morbidity experience, thyroidal status, biochemical assessment of nutritional status. The study will take place in Benin and in India and will be performed by a network of collaborating institutions (Agric. Univ. Wageiningen; Nat. Inst. Nutr., Rome; Univ. Glasgow; Center for Nutrition, Bangalore; Univ. Benin). The study will last 28 months and includes a training component.


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Via Ardeatina 546
00178 ROMA

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Participants (4)