This paper examines patterns of seasonal variation in food consumption and responses to food stress in the highland community of Nunoa, Peru. Dietary and anthropometric data collected from January through August of 1985 on a sample of 26 households (127 individuals) are analyzed. This study finds sharp seasonal differences in energy intake (pre-harvest =1150 calories/day; post-harvest = 1519/day; p < 0.01) associated with variation in the availability of locally-produced products (e.g., tubers and cereals). Seasonal energy reduction, however, does not uniformly affect all sectors of this population. Children experience little seasonal change in energy intake and have a more adequate pre-harvest diet and better nutritional status than adults. The responses used to “protect” children from energy stress and minimize the overall impact of seasonal food scarcity on this community include: 1) reduction of pre-harvest household caloric needs through emigration of adolescent and adult males, 2) preferential allocation of food to children during the pre-harvest period, 3) seasonal reduction of activity levels and the year-round use of children for many productive activities, and 4) seasonal changes in meal patterns that minimize post-prandial energy loss during periods of stress.
Leonard, William R. and Thomas, Brooke
"Biosocial Responses to Seasonal Food Stress in Highland Peru,"
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol61/iss1/8