Malnutrition and inequalities in developmentalist Spain: Rural food and nutrition surveys

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Introduction: the stage of autarky and early years of developmentalism was one of the periods in the contemporary history of Spain when inequalities in food and nutrition became more pronounced. Objectives: to examine malnutrition among the rural population (municipalities with fewer than 2000 inhabitants), including territorial inequalities and the delayed onset of a rural food and nutrition transition. Methods: we analysed the rural food and nutrition surveys carried out by the General Commission for Supplies and Transport (Spanish initials: CAT) and the Food and Nutrition Education Programme (Spanish initials: EDALNU) between 1964 and 1972. Results: the rural population presented a deficit of animal proteins, calcium and vitamins A and B2, due to scant consumption of protective foods. Andalucía and inland Spain were the regions with the highest percentage of people whose diet did not meet nutritional requirements. These deficiencies were not only responsible for the prevalence of caries and skin, mucous membrane and eye lesions, but were also behind delayed growth (height and weight). This was not the result so much of poverty as of the persistence of poor eating habits. Conclusions: besides evidencing the delayed onset of a food and nutritional transition in the Spanish rural population, our findings document policies that sought to encourage the consumption of protective foods in rural areas and empower the population with regard to food and nutrition.




Tormo-Santamaría, M., Trescastro-López, E. M., Galiana-Sánchez, M. E., Pascual-Artiaga, M., & Bernabeu-Mestre, J. (2018). Malnutrition and inequalities in developmentalist Spain: Rural food and nutrition surveys. Nutricion Hospitalaria, 35(Ext5), 116–122.

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