Eating, drinking and being depressed: the social, cultural and psychological context of alcohol consumption and nutrition in a Brazilian community
Much has been written about the socioeconomic distribution of nutritional status, both in more economically developed, and in developing nations. In general, persons of lower socioeconomic status suffer adverse consequences of poor nutritional status, although these consequences can vary depending on the level of development, i.e. in more developed countries the problem tends to be one of over-nutrition and obesity, while in developing countries the problem tends to be one of under-nutrition and nutritional deficiencies. In this paper, we explore the socioeconomic distribution of dietary intake in a Brazilian city, in an area that in some ways is neither prototypically developed or underdeveloped. The analysis presented here was stimulated by the surprising observation of no socioeconomic differences in total caloric intake in the context of extreme differences in income distribution. Further examination showed that socioeconomic differences in total caloric intake appeared after controlling for alcohol intake. A complete analysis of the data suggests that lower income leads to lower cultural consonance, which in turn leads to higher depression, higher alcohol intake, and higher total caloric intake. In this model, alcohol ingestion can be seen as both a psychological and nutritional adaptive strategy to economic, social and cultural marginality in a highly stratified society.
Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
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