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close this bookCommunity-Based Longitudinal Nutrition and Health Studies : Classical Examples from Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1995, 184 pages)
close this folder4. The INCAP longitudinal study (1969-1977) and its follow-up (1988-1989): An overview of results
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe INCAP longitudinal study (1969-1977)
View the documentGuatemalan follow-up study (1987-1988)
View the documentConcluding remarks
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentReferences
View the documentNotes


The Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) studies described in this chapter are unique in the international nutrition literature. The longitudinal study (1969-1977), now well-known, generated one of the best data sources on the effects of improved nutrition during pregnancy and the first few years of life on the physical growth and mental development of children. Its wealth of longitudinal information on growth, infection, diet, and development has also provided scientists with unparalleled opportunities for exploring diverse questions about child health and nutrition. What makes the situation unique is that a comprehensive, long-term follow-up of former participants in the study was carried out in 1988-1989. This has permitted, for the first time, the possibility of relating improved nutrition in the early stages of life to outcomes measured in the adolescent and young adult.

The results presented here are taken from previous publications. In a supplement to the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (Vol. 14, 1992), my colleagues and I reviewed the history, design, and methods of the INCAP longitudinal study (1969-1977), described the villages and their people, presented key findings from the longitudinal study, and reviewed the history, design, and methods of the follow-up study (1987-1988) carried out on former participants in the longitudinal study. The analysis of the follow-up data is ongoing, but enough results are available to comment on their general nature. A monograph dealing with behavioral outcomes in adolescents has been published (Pollitt et al., 1993) and a set of papers emphasizing the follow-up was published in 1995 as a supplement to the Journal of Nutrition. In addition to presenting an overview of results, emphasis is also placed in this chapter on both the scientific and the policy significance of the results from the longitudinal and follow-up studies.