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close this bookActivity, Energy Expenditure and Energy Requirements of Infants and Children (International Dietary Energy Consultative Group - IDECG, 1989, 412 pages)
close this folderThe cultural regulation of infant and child activities
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Research on culture and child development
View the document2. The developmental niche
View the document3. The regulation of infant state
View the document4. The activities of older infants and children
View the document5. Toward a typology of activities
View the documentReferences

5. Toward a typology of activities

What degree of precision in the measurement of energy expenditure and time allocation would be required to address the implications of the new FAO/WHO/UNU 1985 formulation? Dietary guidelines are used for a variety of purposes, but few if any of them are so precisely tailored to an individual's level of activity that a set of limited categories might not suffice. Appropriate time-sampling methodologies exist, as the present study and the work of the Munroes demonstrate. The developmental niche framework provides an understanding of the mechanisms involved in the cultural regulation of children's activities. Guidelines for community-based studies could be constructed on the basis of the existing literature; they must include recommendations for sampling across days and throughout the year, as well as specific observational protocols.

There is also a need for the creation of a typology of activities known for their energy costs which could serve as a guide for classification of the observed activities. This task may not be out of reach in light of other reports at this conference.

Perhaps a final outcome would be an enumeration of several paradigmatic niches to serve as models in arriving at energy recommendations for particular communities. There would remain, to be sure, many fundamental research questions about energy use as well as the developmental functions of various activities (e.g., GOODNOW, 1988). But the results would be an innovative synthesis of behavioral, cultural, and biological perspectives and they would be a landmark recognition of developmental diversity within an universal set of recommendations.