Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 80
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shelter, better health practices and potable water (Jelliffe 1966).
Ethnographic evidence suggests that the solution to most of these
problems, however, is a socioeconomic one (Rodeheaver and Rodeheaver
Besides malnutrition and rapid urbanization, there are many other
problems which plague Guatemala and reinforce each other. One such
problem is education. In Guatemala, the literacy rate falls between
30 and 40 percent, with an average level of education being the second
grade. Finally, there is a relatively severe problem with respect to
nutrition, as more than four-fifths of the population exhibits mal-
nutrition of some degree. Berg (1973) indicates that education seems
to play an important role in avoiding general nutritional problems,
suggesting that Guatemala's low literacy rate may be a source of aggra-
One way to summarize the sociocultural situation in much of rural
Guatemala is to think in terms of the stresses or pressures placed on
the biocultural system of the traditional Mesoamerican village because
of its position in the world-system. Johnston and Selby (1978) and
Selby and Garretson (1981) identified at least four sources of stress:
economic, environmental, demographic and sanitational. On a world-
systems scale, worsening economic conditions are severely felt in
agricultural-export economies such as those on which people in
Guatemala depend for income. Average daily wages in 1980 were about
1.75 dollars and, with the fall in coffee prices, people were finding
it more and more difficult to generate enough income to feel themselves.
Environmentally, Guatemala is slowly becoming a desert wasteland
as the result of deforestation because of population growth and growth
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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/m1/93/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.