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Intra-household allocation of food and health care: Current findings and understandings--Introduction


  • Messer, Ellen


This work offers an anthropological analysis of intra-household processes underlying gender-and age-specific differences in individual nutritional and health care allocations and outcomes in particular cultures. Based on recent ethnographic studies in India, Nepal, Madagascar, Mexico, and Peru, correspondences are analyzed between local cultural ("emic") and scientist-policy maker-practitioner ("etic") understandings of nutrition, health, and human development, and the relative "values" of females, males, and children of different ages. The data and analyses clarify specific epidemiological and demographic findings on age and gender bias in nutrition and health and highlight the multiple cultural, economic, and biological factors that contribute to gender- or age-based discrimination or neglect. Recent advances in nutrition policy have argued for a broader concept of nutritional security, one that incorporates both food quantity and quality, and of nutrition as "food, health, and care" (International Conference on Nutrition, World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition, FAO/WHO, Rome, 1992). These ethnographic findings lend strong support for such broader nutrition concepts and associated nutrition policies. The studies also suggest ways in which anthropological questions, methods, and data and community-based research can help predict or identify the nutritionally vulnerable within households and help other social and medical scientists design more effective interventions. Copyright

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  • Messer, Ellen, 1997. "Intra-household allocation of food and health care: Current findings and understandings--Introduction," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(11), pages 1675-1684, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:44:y:1997:i:11:p:1675-1684

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dhakal, Bhubaneswor & Bigsby, Hugh R. & Cullen, Ross, 2006. "Potential of Forest Resources to Alleviate Poverty and Unemployment in Rural Nepal," 2006 Conference, August 24-25, 2006, Nelson, New Zealand 31962, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    2. Hampshire, Katherine Rebecca & Panter-Brick, Catherine & Kilpatrick, Kate & Casiday, Rachel E., 2009. "Saving lives, preserving livelihoods: Understanding risk, decision-making and child health in a food crisis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 758-765, February.
    3. Sikstrom, Laura, 2014. "“Without the grandparents, life is difficult”: Social hierarchy and therapeutic trajectories for children living with HIV in rural Northern Malawi," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 47-54.
    4. Hadley, Craig & Lindstrom, David & Tessema, Fasil & Belachew, Tefara, 2008. "Gender bias in the food insecurity experience of Ethiopian adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 427-438, January.
    5. Lavi, Iris & Katz, Carmit, 2016. "Neglected voices: Lessons from forensic investigation following neglect," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 171-176.
    6. Christina Robinson, 2013. "Younger Siblings Can Be Good for Your Health: An Examination of Spillover Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 172-184, June.
    7. Laura Zimmermann, 2012. "Reconsidering Gender Bias in Intrahousehold Allocation in India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(1), pages 151-163, September.
    8. Darrouzet-Nardi, Amelia F. & Miller, Laurie C. & Joshi, Neena & Mahato, Shubh & Lohani, Mahendra & Rogers, Beatrice L., 2016. "Child dietary quality in rural Nepal: Effectiveness of a community-level development intervention," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 185-197.
    9. Richards, Esther & Theobald, Sally & George, Asha & Kim, Julia C. & Rudert, Christiane & Jehan, Kate & Tolhurst, Rachel, 2013. "Going beyond the surface: Gendered intra-household bargaining as a social determinant of child health and nutrition in low and middle income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 24-33.
    10. Darrouzet-Nardi, Amelia & Miller, Laurie & Joshi, Neena & Mahato, Shubh & Lohani, Mahendra & Drozdowsky, Julia & Beatrice, Rogers, 2016. "Longitudinal analysis of the intrahousehold distribution of foods in rural Nepal: Effectiveness of a community-level development intervention," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235536, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Piperata, Barbara A. & Schmeer, Kammi K. & Hadley, Craig & Ritchie-Ewing, Genevieve, 2013. "Dietary inequalities of mother–child pairs in the rural Amazon: Evidence of maternal-child buffering?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 183-191.

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