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close this bookCulture, Environment, and Food to Prevent Vitamin A Deficiency (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1997, 208 pages)
close this folderPart I. Vitamin A in food and diets
close this folder1. Vitamin A and food: The current situation
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentOverview: What this book is about
View the documentThe Vitamin A situation
View the documentProposed solutions to the problem
View the documentFocused ethnography to understand local culture and environment for Vitamin A programs
View the documentThe structure of this book

Overview: What this book is about

The purpose of this book is to contribute to understanding the sociocultural and environmental factors that affect vitamin A intake and responses to vitamin A deficiency. The enterprise described here is based on the assumption that knowledge about the sociocultural and environmental contexts of vitamin A is essential for instituting and sustaining food-based prevention of vitamin A deficiency. It describes how a group of nutritionists and anthropologists worked together to create a protocol to evaluate the natural food sources of vitamin A in areas at risk for vitamin A deficiency. A manual describing the creation of a locally contextual protocol is a companion to this volume, and is titled Community Assessment of Natural Food Sources of Vitamin A: Guidelines for an Ethnographic Protocol. The protocol combines nutrition and anthropological tools, and is called focused ethnographic study (FES). FES is within the realm of rapid assessment procedures (RAP) of anthropologically-based methods for relatively rapid evaluation of health problems and prevention programs. In this case, FES is applied to understand how culture, environment, and food can prevent vitamin A deficiency.

We wrote this book for development planners in health, agriculture, education, or other: areas. It is also suitable for scholars and students of nutrition, public health, agriculture, anthropology and human cultural ecology to describe and discuss the issues surrounding the use of natural food sources for the prevention of vitamin A deficiency. Ethnographic research tools and their testing in a broad range of cultures and environments in five developing countries are outlined, as are the findings from this work. Chapters contributed by the investigators in these countries describe the suitability and generalizability of the research tools, the data generated, practical applications, and directions for policy.