Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 29
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in severely retarded growth or even death, an effect neither may have
produced alone (Scrimshaw et al. 1968). It should be pointed out,
though, that the only way to account for past disease effects on growth
is through a complete medical history although this is usually not
feasible given the conditions in developing nations.
When discussing growth, the chemical nature of the human body must
also be dealt with, primarily the endocrine glands that produce certain
hormones which influence growth. The primary growth hormone, somato-
trophin, is essential to normal growth, particularly during childhood,
in that it stimulates linear growth, that is, growth in the length of
the long bones. Throxine, produced in the thyroid glands, is very
important in basal metabolism. A deficiency in this hormone generally
results in retarded growth and an over-production results in overweight.
Insulin is necessary to stimulate the growth hormone in order for it
to take full effect. It should be pointed out, however, that the proper
production of hormones can be affected by either congenital defects or
by poor or improper nutrition. For example, a diet devoid of iodine
can produce thyroid problems, thus resulting in retarded growth (Pass-
more et al. 1974; McLaren 1979).
The most direct method of determining the hormonal conditions of
a population (or an individual) is to collect blood and urine samples
and analyze the hormonal content. However, cultural beliefs, and even
plain aversion to pain, usually do not permit the taking of blood
samples. In the field, there is also the problem of storage, refrig-
eration and proper equipment.
Indirectly, hormonal imbalances can be detected by carefully
screening the symptoms and then, by examining carefully the nutrient
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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/m1/42/: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.