Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 12
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such data, Neumann (1979), Habicht et al. (1974) and others argue that
international reference data (i.e. growth standards) can be used in
evaluating the nutritional status of most preschool populations through-
out the world. Usually, if there is significant variation in growth,
it is the result of uterine or environmental influences (Guzman 1968).
At the population level, the only possible effective way to
measure the genetic effect is through quantifying the genetic potential
for growth (Pryor and Thelander 1972). This can be achieved by
measuring variability in height, weight and so on of a given ethnic
group or population (the same gene pool) under optimal environmental
conditions, having accounted for any or all abnormalities and individ-
ual deviation. It should be noted that there is always some individual
variation in growth potential and growth rate; therefore, this vari-
ability must be considered. After doing this, a sample of malnourished
children (from the same population) can be compared to the above popu-
lation which is assumed to have reached maximum growth potential and,
then, the degrees of malnutrition can be established.
Another approach to measuring the genetic effect on growth
involves heritability (H2) estimates (Jelliffe and Jelliffe 1979;
Malina 1975). These estimates are based on height/stature correlations
between parents and offspring, and siblings. Given the adult height
of the parents, the children should attain specific heights at certain
ages. One problem is especially inherent in this technique, though.
Many times, parents of the undernourished children were also malnourish-
ed during their periods of growth and development, thus producing an
unreliable correlation. Furthermore, unless one is able to study
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/25/: accessed December 12, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.