Nutritional vulnerability in Mbyá-Guaraní adolescents and adults from Misiones, Argentina

Authors

  • María L. Zonta,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE), UNLP-CCT CONICET La Plata, Argentina
    2. Cátedra de Antropología Biológica IV. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo. UNLP La Plata, Argentina
    • Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE) CCT-CONICET-La Plata, Calle 2 N° 584. B1902CHX, La Plata-Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • Evelia E. Oyhenart,

    1. Cátedra de Antropología Biológica IV. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo. UNLP La Plata, Argentina
    2. Instituto de Genética Veterinaria “Ing. Fernando Noel Dulout” (IGEVET), FCV, UNLP-CCT CONICET La Plata, Argentina
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  • Graciela T. Navone

    1. Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CEPAVE), UNLP-CCT CONICET La Plata, Argentina
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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the nutritional status and body composition in Mbyá-Guaraní adolescents and adults from three communities in the Province of Misiones, in northern Argentina.

Methods:

Anthropometric parameters were analyzed in 45 individuals (aged 14–60). Data were transformed to z-scores using NHANES I and II.

Results:

Ninety-three percent of the sample showed some kind of malnutrition (undernutrition and/or excess of weight). Stunting and overweight reached the highest prevalences (85.0 and 10.0%, respectively). The most Mbyá people were found to have low arm muscle and fat areas. They also tended to have shorter than normal lower limbs. Centralized obesity was evident in both sexes and in all the age intervals.

Conclusions:

Extreme poverty, together with changes in life habits and diet composition, resulted in decrease of body size and changes in body proportions and composition. Although these changes could be considered as an adaptive response to the chronic exposure of these populations to adverse environmental conditions, they would favor the co-occurrence of malnutrition and overweight in a single scenario, and consequently increase the risk of infectious and nontransmissible diseases. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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