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    [Force-feeding] Gavage.

    Barrere B

    In: Enquete Demographique et de Sante, Mauritanie, 2000-2001, [compiled by] Mauritania. Office National de la Statistique, [and] ORC Macro. MEASURE DHS+. Nouakchott, Mauritania, Office National de la Statistique, 2001 Dec. 185-208.

    Force-feeding, a practice existing almost exclusively in Mauritania, involves forcing young girls to eat large amounts of food in order to become fat and, in keeping with Mauritanian society’s cultural values, pretty and ready to marry. Force-feeding occurs in response both to this society’s perception of beauty and the desire to manifest the social status of a woman’s family, since obesity is a sign of family wealth. Old Mauritanian society valued excessive obesity to such an extent that a social proverb argued women occupied a place in the heart equal to their volume. However, the Mauritanian government is now trying to organize population awareness campaigns upon the adverse effects upon women of force-feeding. Beyond affronting women’s rights, and in addition to the suffering induced by force-feeding itself, this practice has adverse consequences upon women’s entire lives, including eventual problems with mobility, social participation, and higher risks of morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease. Results of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) conducted in Mauritania during 2000-01, are presented upon the knowledge and practice of force- feeding, as well as related opinions and attitudes.
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