The food acquisition, dietary practices, and nutritional status of rural Afro‐Ecuadorian women were compared with other Ecuadorian and Latin American groups. Data were collected by interview, physical examination, repeated 24‐hour and 7‐day recalls, key‐informant interviews, and non‐participant observation. The women's food procurement strategies appeared successful since they had improved food security, dietary quality and nutritional status compared to other impoverished groups. Most had normal weight, 28.3% were obese, and 14.9%, underweight. Their dietary base included plantains, fish, wild rodents, coconut, rice, and tropical fruits but consumption of dairy foods, vegetables, bananas and cassava was low. The proportion of dietary energy provided by carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins was 57%, 29%, and 14%. Protein, lipid and cholesterol intakes were elevated. Many had low calcium (87%) and zinc intakes (74%) butfew, low iron intakes (< 35%) excepting gravidas (67%). Similar to the present day trend in the Americas, the minority women's dietary and other lifestyle characteristics appears to place them at risk for the development of obesity and other chronic diseases.
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