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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    [Urban-rural differences in food intake of poor families in Guatemala] Diferencias urbano-rurales en la ingesta de alimentos de familias pobres de Guatemala.

    Alarcon JA; Adrino FJ


    Differences in diet and nutrient consumption among impoverished families in urban and rural areas of Guatemala were analyzed using data from 2 surveys conducted in 1987. A sample of 200 families in the marginal community of El Milagros in Guatemala City inhabited largely by rural in-migrants and a sample of 900 families of agricultural wage workers from 195 rural communities in the northwestern altiplano participated in the nutritional study. Poverty, poor health conditions, and high rates in malnutrition among the children characterized both samples. The method of 24-hour recall in single interviews was used in both areas. The urban families were visited in July-August 1987 and the rural families in October-November. Reported consumption of foods of animal origin, milk products, eggs, and meats was over twice as high in urban areas as measured by average consumption and by the percentage of families reporting consumption Maize consumption was very high in rural but not urban areas. 97% of rural families prepared their own tortillas, tamales, and atole, and only 5% bought them prepared. In the marginal urban area by contrast, 31% of families prepared their own maize and 82% bought prepared maize derivatives primarily tortillas and tamales. Consumption of beans was higher in urban areas, largely because their cultivation is impossible in the high altitude communities of the altiplano. The average adult caloric consumption of 3194.3 in rural areas exceeded the 2637.5 of urban areas. But in both cases calorie consumption was below recommended levels. The urban total represented 86% of the daily recommendation of 3050 calories for a moderately active adult, while the rural total was equivalent to 91% of the daily recommendation of 3500 for very active adults. The average daily protein intake of 82.9 g in urban and 87.8 g in rural areas exceed the daily adult recommendation of 68 g. Almost 70% of caloric intake among rural adults came from maize, compared to 27% in urban areas. Wheat bread, beans, and sugar together accounted for 41% of total calories in urban areas. Almost 70% of protein in rural areas was contributed by maize and beans, while in urban areas over 30% was from foods of animal origin, 25% from beans, and 21% from maize. Despite their lower caloric consumption, urban families enjoyed more diversified diets and higher levels of calcium and vitamin A consumption. But vitamin A consumption met only 62% of the daily requirement in urban areas and 43% in rural areas, while iron consumption met less than 80% of the daily need in either area.
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  2. 2

    Micro environment in urban planning -- issues concerning access of poor to basic amenities.

    Kundu A

    DEMOGRAPHY INDIA. 1990 Jan-Jun; 19(1):79-91.

    Poorer sections of urban centers are disproportionately ill-affected by resource constraints limiting the provision of basic water and sanitation services. These areas are more vulnerable to economic degradation and environmental pollution. Planners and policymakers, however, often place greater importance upon rapid macroeconomic development at the expense of protecting the environment. By definition, therefore, such action is more likely to harm those most in need of infrastructural and economic development. Environmental degradation poses both macro and micro problems for cities and their populations. Public sector efforts generally focus upon improving at the macro level, while private sector action tends to dominate at the micro level. This paper studies the nature and magnitude of disparity in access to water and sewage/sanitation facilities among different consumption levels in urban areas. It finds that despite heavy government subsidization in the provision of the public water supply and sewage/sanitation systems, no favorable bias exists to meet the needs of underserved, poor areas. In fact, a substantial proportion of subsidized water is wastefully consumed by higher income groups, often in nonpriority use. Among the bottom 40% of population groups, 52% of households are without latrines. This paper points to the failure of macro-level governmental support to meet the basic needs of the urban poor, and the importance of private, informal solutions to secure basic amenities.
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  3. 3

    Urbanization and the urban environment.


    Urban health hazards in the rapidly urbanizing areas of developing countries are described, and ways to mitigate them by sustainable development are discussed. Urban health problems are serious in developing countries because population growth is so rapid, diseases of underdevelopment and poverty and of modernization are combined, and resources are so limited. The urban populations in developing countries suffer lack of safe water (25%), sewage disposal (50%), solid waste collection (30-50%), crowded living conditions, inadequate housing, indoor and outdoor air pollution, traffic, noise, and effluents from industry. These conditions result in high prevalence of asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, meningitis, as well as stress, mental illness, accidents, violence, antisocial behavior, drug and alcohol abuse. Sustainable development for cities implies that meeting the needs of today's people will not compromise the life of future generations. This is difficult in cities because sustainable urban development must be linked to rural development. The more populous and spread-out the city and the richer its inhabitants, the larger is its demand on resources and the larger is the area from which it draws. Thus deforestation and soil erosion in rural areas result from city demands, but impoverish rural people, causing them to migrate to the city. Many rapidly growing South And Central American cities are sited in fragile ecozones where sustainable use of natural resources is problematic, and land is controlled by a small elite. The poorer cities in developing areas have the advantage of using resources far less wastefully than do First World city dwellers. As they develop and continue to grown, however, even they will demand substantial increases in nonrenewable resource use.
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  4. 4

    The urban crisis.


    The world's urban population, at 2048 million in 1985 is projected to increase by 56% to 3197 million by 2000, and another 72% to 5.493 million by 2025. This urbanization will grow by natural increase, rural-urban migration, and declining mortality. 28 mega-cities of >8 million are expected by 2000. In many Latin American countries cities will account for most of the population increase; in parts of Africa, Asia and China, spectacular increases in urban population is expected. In many of these areas the phenomenon called the "demographic trap" rather than a proper demographic transition seems to be occurring, that is stagnation in the phase of high fertility despite a decline in death rates. The patterns of urbanization peculiar to regions and continents are described, such as the "core regions" around Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Unlike the historical urbanization that accompanied the Western industrial revolution, current urbanization is not driven by economic opportunity but by rural poverty and ecological collapse, and aggravated by recession, external debt, natural disasters and welfare, among other factors. It is estimated that 50% of urban dwellers will subsist in extreme poverty, and they will account for 25% of the world's population by 2000. 30% of these households are headed by women, >50% in Latin America. Policies that governments have applied unsuccessfully to reverse urbanization include disincentives for rural urban migration, land reform, rural minimum wage, tax reform, agricultural subsidies, an urban decentralization settlement. More effective policies are integrated rural and urban development, coercive measures to prevent migration accompanied by economic incentives for rural areas, and resettlement schemes. Some positive cultural developments in urban slums are cited as stemming from the resourcefulness of the squatters, such as growing food.
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  5. 5

    [Brazil: agricultural modernisation and food production restructuring in the international crisis] Bresil: modernisation agricole et restructuration alimentaire dans la crise internationale.

    Bertrand JP

    Tiers-Monde. 1985 Oct-Dec; 26(104):879-98.

    This study examines the complex relationship of capital accumulation, external debt, and food supply in Brazil, a country which has simultaneously increased its food exports and its unsatisfied demand for food imports in the context of the world economic crisis. In Brazil, the substitution of export cash crops for subsistence crops has been accompanied by a profound but incomplete restructuring of the basic food supply and model of consumption, a restructuring made possible by declining real cost of the new foods. The gap between the extremely rapid evolution of consumption, especially in the urban areas, and the possibilities of concomitant transformation of production is the characteristic feature of the change occuring in Brazil. The current diet of the developed countries evolved over a relatively long period and was based on the declining real cost of basic foodstuffs made possible by increasing labor productivity. Between 1800-1900, the real cost of a kilo of bread was halved, while that of meat remained stable. In France and the US respectively, 80 and 90% of the principal cereals are consumed by animals, while in developing countries most grains are directly consumed. Numerous indices suggest that Brazil has begun to differentiate its food regime in the direction of decreased consumption of cereals, tubers, and legumes, and increased consumption of animal products, with grains increasingly consumed indirectly by animals. Since the early 1970s, Brazil has developed a powerful processed food industry which supports intensive breeding of poultry and, to a lesser extent, pork and milk cattle. However, low income population groups have been forced to reduce their consumption of traditional foodstuffs, whose real prices have undergone relative increases, without achieving a satisfactory level of consumption of the new products. Brazilian food problems result not from insufficient production of food but from the choice of a strongly internationalist model of development in the mid-1960s which required insertion into the world economy, notably through a search for new export sectors. The agricultural sector was assigned 3 functions: producing food as cheaply as possible, increasing the proportion of exportable crops, and substituting some of the foods imported. Brazil evolved in 2 decades from a classic agroexporter to a more complex structure reflecting the semiindustrialized state of the economy. The share of processed agricultural goods increased accordingly. The foods produced for the internal market have been changing at the same time that a new hierarchy of exportable products has evolved. Agricultural policy involved recourse to market mechanisms and cheap credit focused on the south and southeastern regions, large and medium sized producers, and a few products including soy, coffee, sugar cane, and cotton. Just 3% of credits went to the traditional foodstuffs beans and manioc. The most serious consequence of the internationalization of the agricultural economy has been a dangerous increase in the vulnerability of low income groups to world food price fluctuations.
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  6. 6

    [Food dependence and urbanisation in Africa south of the Sahara: a controversial relationship] Dependance alimentaire et urbanisation en Afrique sub-Saharienne: une relation controversee.

    Sudrie O

    Tiers-Monde. 1985 Oct-Dec; 26(104):861-78.

    This article analyzes statistical indicators of urbanization and food dependence in Subsaharan Africa to examine whether urbanization has induced dependence and steady increases in food imports. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agricultural imports to Africa grew at an annual pace of 8.5%, increasing from the index of 100 in 1970 to 227 in 1980, while cereal imports alone reached 21 million tons in 1980 compared to 6 in 1970. The growth of imports has occurred in the context of a relative crisis in agriculture involving a decline in per capita food availability and sustained rural exodus. Crude data on commercial agricultural production, food imports, and urban population seem to corroborate the relationships between urbanization and food dependence. According to the FAO, per capita agricultural production declined continuously between 1970-80 by 1.2%/year, while the population in places of over 5000 inhabitants increased from 40 million in 1970 to 75 million in 1980. The general trends mask the concentration of both food imports and urban population; by 1980, just 6 countries were responsible for half the imports and 55% of the total urban population. The relationship between food imports and urban population appears to be verified a priori for only a few countries, notably Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal. In general, over both the short and long terms, the weak correlation between urbanization and food imports argues against any univocal interpretation of the results: rhythms of growth of imports have no strong relationship with those of urbanization. The average annual rate of growth of the urban population increased from 5.3% between 1960-70 to 5.9% during the 1970s, while the rate of growth of food imports declined from 4.3% between 1960-70 to 3.5% thereafter. The declining growth rate of food imports occurred in the context of declining per capita food availability estimated by the FAO at -1.2%/year for all SubSaharan countries. Per capita production attained an index of 89.7 in 1978 based on a 1970 level of 100. Imports necessary to ensure a constant food supply would have attained an index of 110.3 in 1978, but in fact the index actually achieved was 107.2 based on 100 in 1970. The level of national income played a determining role in compensating for declining local food production, with oil exporting countries able to import food at a rate in excess of the difference and other nations falling considerably short of compensating. Income effects explain in large part the absence of correlation between level of food production, food imports, and urbanization. As in all econometric studies of countries with deficient data, caution must be applied in interpretation of results. The UN data used do no measure clandestine inter-African food exchanges and define urban areas in purely demographic terms.
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  7. 7

    Food policy issues in low-income countries.

    Chambers R; Clay EJ; Lipton M; Singer HW

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1981. vii, 115 p. (World Bank staff working paper, no. 473)

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