Free Essay

Malnutrition in Guatemala


Submitted By greenme
Words 1744
Pages 7
ANT 450
Professor Legg
Malnutrition in Guatemala Guatemala is a Country in Central America right underneath Mexico. Its true name is the Republic of Guatemala. Guatemala consists of many indigenous Mayan people. It has a very heavy Spanish influence. Mayans are called the indigenous people as opposed to the westernized Ladino’s that have European blood in them and usually live in a more urbanized areas. More than half the Guatemalan nation is composed of indigenous Mayan Indians. The national language is Spanish. The five main Mayan languages are Quichí, Mam, Qanjobal, Chol, and Yucateca (Nacie L., 2011). In addition to these five main languages there are 21 dialects that branch off of these
There are many factors that contribute to the extremely high rates of malnutrition in the country of Guatemala. Poverty, socioeconomic status, and education level all play a part. The disadvantaged Guatemalan is considered indigenous. Much racism goes on between indigenous and non-indigenous “Ladino’s.” Ladinos mainly rule the country (BBC, 2012). The amount of education is directly correlated with the amount of money made. The per capita GDP of Guatemala is $3,177 ranked 16 out of 19 in all of the Latin American Countries (Edwards, 2002). Guatemala has an approximate population of 14,027, 000. The life expectancy for men is 66 years old and for women 77 years old. Guatemala has the largest economy in Central America but it also has the lowest growth rates of human development (Edwards, 2002).
Fifty one percent of the population lives in poverty. The majority of people living in poverty reside in rural areas and make up seventy-one percent of the population in poverty. Of this poverty population sixty-eight percent are Mayan or indigenous people (Edwards, 2002). More indigenous people live in poverty and are malnourished. Many of the Mayan people of Guatemala lack a good education. Guatemala has the highest illiteracy rate in Latin America especially among women. Around thirty percent of the adult population has no formal school training. Fifty percent have primary school education. Fifteen percent have secondary school education and only about five percent have an education beyond secondary school. This lack of education limits them in where they can work what they can do. The lack of education also puts them at a disadvantage in understanding and knowing what is needed for proper nutrition in a diet. Almost half the children in Guatemala are malnutritioned. Women in Guatemala are leading in malnutrition out of all of the Latin American countries. Malnutrition starts in the womb. Pertaining to Guatemala if the mother is under the age of 18 years old she is more prone to be malnourished (The World Bank Group, 2011). This can cause the child to be mal nourished as well. Results of a malnourished mother are low birth weight for the baby, increased chances of infant mortality, increased chance of maternal mortality, maternal depletion where the mothers nutrients are taken from her bones in order to nourish the growing fetus (The World Bank Group, 2011). Growth stunting is more prominent as well when mothers are malnourished. Mothers who have children close in age are more likely to have children who are mal nourished. The mother is more susceptible to having maternal depletion and the children are more susceptible to transfer infections to one another. Children who are born with a low birth weight in Guatemala tend to have low Iron, low fat levels, and low Vitamin A (Jocotan, 2009). Around fifty-four percent of low birth weight children are malnourished when they get older (The World Bank Group, 2011).
Malnourishment in children can stunt growth which is measured by a child’s weight to height, age to height, and weight to age ratios. Breast feeding for too long can also affect a child’s nutrition. When a child is breast feed over the age of 12 months in rural areas in Guatemala the child does not get all the nutrients he/ she needs and becomes malnourished. This usually happens more in rural areas where the percentage of breast feeding mothers is higher.
Studies show that only about fifty percent of the population reaches the right amount of calories and micronutrients required every day (Jocotan, 2009). The general population has deficiencies in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Iodine, and Iron. When it comes to malnutrition women seem to be affected the most. Guatemalan women have the highest rates of anemia in all of Latin America. Obesity is more prominent in women as opposed to men. The percentage of women who are obese in Guatemala compared to men is much higher. Twenty-six percent of women in Guatemala are obese the highest in all of Latin American women, compared to thirteen percent obesity in Guatemalan men (DevTech Systems, Inc, 2009).
Gender roles play a huge part in the prominence of malnutrition between men and women in Guatemala. Despite new laws in government protecting women’s rights in Guatemala, many women still take on the domestic role. Being a male dominated “Machista” society women take on the role of mother, wife, and homemaker (DevTech Systems, Inc, 2009). The male dominated society lets men control decisions at home, political decisions, as well as social and economic decisions (Luciak, 2001). Violence against women is more accepted here and women who are abused have the mentality that it is their job to endure it in order to be a good wife and mother (Luciak, 2001). Women have a very low literacy rate compared to men. The majority of women who live in rural areas of Guatemala do not speak Spanish. This can limit them in obtaining a decent paying job. Women tend to lack a good education which acts as a spiral effect. Lower education leads to lower paying jobs and smaller employment options. Only thirty-five percent of the Guatemalan women population work and most of these jobs are to supplement household income (Edwards, 2002).
Solutions for malnutrition in Guatemala has to start with educating the people in rural areas about the proper diet and nutrition needed. To reach the people in rural areas, a person with knowledge of the specific dialect spoken in that town or village would lead the education programs. The importance of good nutrition for mothers would have to be stressed. When the mothers are taken care of the children will have better nutrition as well. Information about proper nutrition while pregnant would be given to mothers. In addition, proper nutrition regarding women’s nutritional needs after birth and while breast feeding would be given. Education about children’s diet and nutrition would be given. Specific information regarding a child’s age and what their body requires would be included. Women do most the cooking and need to be informed that over eating is not healthy and does not mean you are getting all the proper nutrients your body needs. Preparing a meal with what your body needs is essential.
Once people are educated then the means to achieve a healthy diet are needed. The government of Guatemala has tried to fortify sugar and flour with additional nutrients lacking in everyday Guatemalan diets without success. Many people in rural areas farm. Part of the education process would be educating people about what plants they can grow and providing the seeds that are high in Iron, Vitamin A, and whatever other nutrients are lacking in their diet. Cook books could be provided to give examples of meals high in what the diet is lacking. Adult education programs would be provided to those lacking a primary and secondary education. Spanish literacy classes would be provided to help people be more successful while looking for a job. Classes educating men and women about how to handle anger or violence in a relationship would be provided. The method of setting up schools and education sessions is the right way to go because it would empower the people considered disadvantaged. It would target those who are in need the most on a more personal one on one basis.
Some barriers that could slow the implementation of this plan would be gaining the trust of the people in rural areas. Many may think that the education program would be trying to change their way of life. The indigenous Mayans may feel as though they are being pressured into being more like the urban Ladino’s. In order to overcome these barriers I would get as many indigenous people involved as I could and have them help train and talk to others. The stress of bettering their community and people would be focused on. The more they are educated the better lives their children can have as well as future generations around them. The better educated the indigenous population is the more chances they have in being leaders in the government.

Luciak, I. A. (2001). After the revolution: Gender and democracy in el salvador, nicaragua, and guatemala. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from gender roles&ots=6-v8W1hmGi&sig=yRBGppmerI27f3q_1ESfz4i9WMQ
DevTech Systems, Inc. USAID, STTA&T project. (2009). Gender assessment usaid/guatemalaUSAID.
Edwards, J. (2002). Education and poverty in guatemala. GUATEMALA POVERTY ASSESSMENT (GUAPA) PROGRAM TECHNICAL PAPER NO. 3, 11. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. (2001, 05 12). Water sanitation and health: Water-related diseases. Retrieved from
The World Bank Group. (2011). The world bank. Retrieved from,,contentMDK:21161481~pagePK:146736~piPK:64909335~theSitePK:258554,00.html
Jocotan. (2009, August 27). The economist. Retrieved from
Kriel, L. (2011, June 28). Addressing chronic malnutrition in guatemala. . Retrieved from
BBC. (2012, 15 01). Bbc news. Retrieved from
Nacie L., G. (2011). Countries and their cultures. Retrieved from
Marini, A., & Gragnolati, M. (2003). Malnutrition and poverty in guatemala. The World Bank. Retrieved from and poverty in Guatemala&ots=SPVDIXD2K-&sig=nINza0UuY2jFO032iP3Hab56Sbo

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Eradication of Poverty and Extreme Hunger

...affecting most country in the world; no matter how big or small, rich or poor. This issue causes the most pain today, and is also the biggest threat to a person's future. Eradicating poverty and extreme hunger are the top priority of the United Nations in the 21st century because it will reduce the amount of malnutrition in people and improve their education. One of the reasons why poverty and extreme hunger must be eradicated is because without it there would be a dramatic drop in the number of malnourished people around the world. Poverty and hunger can affect young and old and is the biggest contributor to malnutrition. This can be seen in the Central American country of Guatemala. The Guatemala Poverty Assessment states that, "There is a strong correlation between poverty and malnutrition, as four fifths of malnourished children are poor" (Guatemala Poverty). In politics, a 66% super majority is rarely required when deciding on an issue because of the difficulty in achieving it. Therefore, when a supermajority is achieved, it can always be assumed that it is in the best interest of the people. Since there is an 80% correlation between malnourishment and poverty in Guatemala, it is practically guaranteed that if the United Nations were to focus on reducing poverty and hunger, the malnourishment in the population would also reduce. Another country that has shown this to be true is Vietnam. In 1985, they were considered a poor...

Words: 1523 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

End of Mayan Civilization

...The Mystery behind the End of Mayan Civilization Vanessa Espinoza Professor Perry World Cultures I Strayer University Mayan Mystery Civilizations all over, rose to become strong, powerful nations and descended due to many reasons. One civilization in particular, is the Mayans. The Mayan Empire began around 1800 B.C and lasted until around 900 A.D. Located in tropical environments, in what is now known as the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize and parts of México. The Mayan people were known for their advance levels of mathematics, astronomy, and they develop a calendar system based on 365 days that we use in present day. The Mayan people also created many elaborate cities with stoned pyramids that partially remain intact today. How can a great nation, who developed a complex system, and flourish for many centuries, just disappear; leaving many questions unanswered? What happened to the Mayans? This is one mystery that has many people asking questions about what happened to a large number of people without wondering if this could ever happen again. Two theories that could explain what happened to the Mayan people are: drought and climate changes lead to the demised of the Mayan culture, and/or warfare from neighboring cities or foreign invaders caused the Mayans to become extinct. Scientist Martin Medina-Elizalde and Eelco Rohling believe that the climate changes affected the rainfall causing droughts. Many others believe that invaders from other countries...

Words: 526 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Mystery Behind the End of Mayan Civilization

...The Mystery behind the End of Mayan Civilization World Cultures I Mayan Mystery Civilizations all over, rose to become strong, powerful nations and descended due to many reasons. One civilization in particular, is the Mayans. The Mayan Empire began around 1800 B.C and lasted until around 900 A.D. Located in tropical environments, in what is now known as the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize and parts of México. The Mayan people were known for their advance levels of mathematics, astronomy, and they develop a calendar system based on 365 days that we use in present day. The Mayan people also created many elaborate cities with stoned pyramids that partially remain intact today. How can a great nation, who developed a complex system, and flourish for many centuries, just disappear; leaving many questions unanswered? What happened to the Mayans? This is one mystery that has many people asking questions about what happened to a large number of people without wondering if this could ever happen again. Two theories that could explain what happened to the Mayan people are: drought and climate changes lead to the demised of the Mayan culture, and/or warfare from neighboring cities or foreign invaders caused the Mayans to become extinct. Scientist Martin Medina-Elizalde and Eelco Rohling believe that the climate changes affected the rainfall causing droughts. Many others believe that invaders from other countries or cities over powered the Mayans. Climate changes If invaders...

Words: 520 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Malnutrition and Academic Performance

...Introduction Malnutrition as defined is the lack of a sufficient quantity or quality of nutrients to maintain the body system at some definable level of functioning. It has been estimated that 37-80 percent of all pre-school children in the developing countries like Philippines suffer from protein calorie malnutrition as assessed by the manifestation of syndromes, nutritional indexes, and weight deviations (Bengoa, 1974). Mild to moderate malnutrition, also called chronic under nutrition, is much more common than severe forms, and is often difficult to recognize. The severe forms are either due to insufficient protein and calories (marasmus) or to an acute protein loss or deprivation (kwashiorkor). At present, when increasing investment in our educational programs is being made to improve the performance of the schoolchildren however, to some extent this are being wasted. Children are not reaching their full intellectual potential consequently, predispose to school failure. In public elementary schools particularly the Kalibo Elementary School I, where malnutrition is prevalent among schoolchildren, it is observed that children has low attention-span, lack interest and decreased ability to focus on tasks, and restlessness. These likely to interfere with their learning ability and in this way resulted to their poor school performance. However, this has yet be proven, whether malnutrition impair the learning ability and school performance of schoolchildren. It is for this reason...

Words: 2675 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Salvador Allende Research Paper

...In many South American countries, the twentieth century is known for its political instability and the dictatorship under dishonorable and deceitful rulers. Despite vast natural resources, many countries continue to struggle with the social consequences of widespread poverty and social depression. To top that, the countries Chile and Guatemala had to deal with the overthrowing of their government and leaders which ultimately led into a disruptive society and economy. Both leaders Salvador Allende and Jacobo Arbenz Guzman were viewed as deceiving and disorderly by outer countries, specifically the U.S. which helped with both rebellions. Salvador Allende and “the Road to Socialism” Salvador Allende’s original plan was to become a physician....

Words: 2064 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Extra Credit: Copán, Mexico

...Taiwan, and the northern parts of Mexico, but the pyramids of the Maya civilization have always intrigued me. Copán is located on the western corner of Honduras, close to the Guatemala border and is one of the most significant cities of the Maya civilization. Archeological records indicate that settlements in this area dated back to 2000BC and by 200AD it was a thriving tribal settlement. In 426AD, a warrior-prince named, K’inich Yax K’uh Moh, from Mexico took control of the city of Copán and declared himself the king. (The Maya Ruins of Copán) Over the next 400 years, there would be 16 dynasty’s overseeing the city’s growth and expansion. Each new temple was built following Maya tradition, larger and taller than the previous temples. Pyramids were constructed to provide support for the...

Words: 571 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Hunger Data

...Hunger Data The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics • In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called "absolute poverty" • Every year 15 million children die of hunger • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years • Throughout the 1990's more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days! • The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you've entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year. • One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. United Nations Food and Agriculture • The Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world's hungry people. Africa and the rest of Asia together have approximately 40%, and the remaining hungry people are found in Latin America and other parts of the world. Hunger in Global Economy • Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion - a majority of humanity - live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people. UNICEF ...

Words: 8178 - Pages: 33

Premium Essay


...the root cause of these global issues is the relationship between poverty and the lack of education. The big question is whether increased education will reduce poverty or, is a lack of education a result of poverty? Increased education can lead to the reduction of poverty by providing people with learning skills to get a job and provide a source of income. Education has the most crucial role in eliminating poverty as with education there are many more opportunities. For the eradication of poverty, primary education is essential because with the increase in education, people will not lack cognitive skills- being able to progress better. (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2001; Brown, J., Pollitt, E. Malnutrition, 1996). A counter argument is that poverty is the main contributor towards that lack of education. Education differs on levels of income which results in families in developing countries not having access to education because it is not affordable. The lack of health care can raise the number of absents of a student causing them to miss the necessary lessons to pass. Also, students require an adequate meal before and during...

Words: 2826 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Malnutrition and Its Effect to the Academic Performance of Selected Public High School Student in Gumaca, Quezon During School Year 2015-2016 Chivi, Zimbabwe. Its main objective is to identify mitigation policies and measures designed to reduce negative effects of poor nutrition on children’s academic performance. Malnutrition remains one of the major obstacles to human well-being affecting all areas of a child's growth and development, including performance in the classroom. The study is grounded in Maslow’s motivational and needs theory. In this study, a qualitative phenomenological case study design was used with focus group discussions, interviews and observations as data collection instruments to twelve (12) grade seven learners, three (3) headmasters and four (4) teachers, purposively sampled in Masvingo province. Findings revealed that malnutrition affected physical growth, cognitive development and it consequently impacts on academic performance, health and survival of learners. Malnutrition also deepens poverty due to increased health care costs. The study also established that hungry and undernourished grade seven learners were not able to take on physical work and sporting activities seriously, are less able to attend school and if they do, are less able to concentrate and learn. On the way forward, there is need to introduce nutritional gardens at community, school and at family levels. Addressing the root causes of malnutrition (such as food insecurity, poverty, population growth and socio-economic instability) is imperative for achieving sustained reductions in...

Words: 5678 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay

Research for Social Issues, Political Issues,

...smooth holding of the referendum. Evaluation: In January 2011, three million people across Sudan and abroad went to the poll in a largely peaceful atmosphere, voting overwhelmingly for secession.  While the situation in the region remains fragile with key challenges ahead, the absence of major violence around the referendum itself and the widespread acceptance of its outcome are considered a success for preventive diplomacy. Central America What: Armed conflicts How: The United Nations was deeply involved in the search for peace in Central America, whose armed conflicts were brought to end in the 1990s. UN observers monitored the 1990 elections in Nicaragua. UN envoys helped forge landmark peace agreements in El Salvador and Guatemala, and in both countries UN field missions managed by the Department of Political Affairs verified the implementation of the accords. Evaluation: It is difficult to completely eradicate this conflict in Central America, however, it has helped to ease the tensions of this conflict. Singapore What: Singapore race riot 1964 How: The Singapore government intervene by making numerous arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA), for those involved in subversion and rioters who were members of secret societies....

Words: 1894 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Gg271 Assignment 1

...the mosaic mirrors in ancient Maya through the process of how the mirrors are made and what it is made out of. As mentioned in other article, ancient Maya were creative at art and artifacts. Also, their community were hierarchically organized. Therefore, these well made lithic reflectors were used for ceremonial artifacts and mostly used by elite individuals. These mirrors were flat, shiny objects with highly polished plaques and it has been described as luxury goods which indicate high status for the owner. Furthermore, the meaning of ancient Maya iron-ore mirrors was used by the elite individuals to communicate to the spiritual world. There are over 500 mosaic mirrors found in ancient Maya in highland and lowland area such as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. But majority of the mosaic mirrors were found in highland area and only one or two were found in lowland area. This indicates that highland Maya area...

Words: 2842 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Ideas on Health

...The ideas of health care have changed tremendously in the past years. Health services are provided in many ways and the funding is now more accessible. Outstanding changes in public health have changed life over the past century. Health care became an area of concern as early as the 1900’s. It was during The Great Depression in the 1930’s when priorities changed with greater emphasis on unemployment insurance and “old age” benefits. Between 1940 and 1950 President Roosevelt asked Congress for “economic bill of rights,” including right to adequate medical care and later on President Truman would offer a national health program plan involving a single system that would include all of American society. Unfortunately, this agreement would be terminated by the American Medical Association (AMA), and is called a Communist plot by a House subcommittee. It wasn’t until the start of the decade during the 1950’s that national health care expenditures were 4.5 percent of the Gross National Product (PBS, 2010), and then later on in the 1970’s an effort brought forth by the World Health Organization planned to achieve “Health for All” by the year 2000. Declaration of Alma-Ata International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978 Governments have a responsibility for the heath of their people, which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures. A main social target of governments, international organizations and the whole...

Words: 3142 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Us Foreign Aid

...South Korea is one of the best cases of foreign aid, which was assisted by the other countries’ foreign aid like the U.S. Owing to foreign aid; South Korea has been able to become a developed country. Recently, South Korea wants to help undeveloped countries which such as Vietnam, Philippine and Myanmar. So, there is constant controversy concerning the foreign aid. Some of critic claims that South Korea gives little foreign aid to other countries. However, they say that South Korea wants to make profit use of foreign aid. Even though many experts support disadvantages of foreign aid, it also has many good ways to help undeveloped countries because it purpose is not profits but relief. Foreign aid can help support to poor countries’ economic system, education system, and medical services and provide food. According to Shah (2004), “Foreign aid, which can be defined as the transfer of money, goods, and services from one country to another, is an important part of the foreign policy” (para.1). The first foreign aid began in the immerse war. In “A Brief History of U. S. Foreign Aid” the author writes that “Foreign aid began in World War II and evolved through reconstruction after that war, through the Cold War, after September 11, and to the present day” (para. 1). Foreign aid has been around since just after the end of the Second World War. Today foreign aid can be given in a number of areas, including developmental, humanitarian, military, disaster relief, and security. Also,...

Words: 1516 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Mattel and the Toy Recalls

...Coffee Barometer 2014 Sjoerd Panhuysen & Joost Pierrot 13 / ha India 5 mio Vietnam 22 mio bags 40 bags / ha 10 / ha Ethiopia 6 mio 7 Indonesia 13 mio bags 1 Hivos IUCN Nederland Oxfam Novib Solidaridad WWF Content 2 1 Introduction Coffee, cultivated in more than 80 countries in Central and South America, Africa and Asia, ranks among the world’s most valuable agricultural commodities. Coffee cultivation provides livelihoods for 20-25 million farming families [4]; and engages over 100 million people in its producing and processing. Smallholder coffee farmers, together with their families and rural workers produce over 70 per cent of this labour intensive crop. Women comprise half the productive workforce and play a crucial role that often goes unnoticed. However, to retain the involvement of rural youth is a challenge as they often aspire to a different future and seek employment outside the coffee sector. Historically, declining terms of trade and price volatility have plagued coffee production. This makes poverty reduction, which is essential to ensure the sustainability of the sector, both an important and difficult challenge. Figure 3 presents an overview of the main social, economic and environmental challenges for smallholders and plantation labourers. These problems at the production level are compounded by the effects of changing climatic conditions. The International Coffee Organization [9] acknowledges that the world coffee sector is facing major challenges...

Words: 2781 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay


...Proper nutrition is a powerful good: people who are well nourished are more likely to be healthy, productive and able to learn. Good nutrition benefits families, their communities and the world as a whole. Undernutrition is, by the same logic, devastating. It blunts the intellect, saps the productivity of everyone it touches and perpetuates poverty. Stunting - or low height for age - traps people into a lifelong cycle of poor nutrition, illness, poverty and inequity. The damage to physical and cognitive development, especially during the first two years of a child’s life, is largely irreversible. A child’s poorer school performance results in future income reductions of up to 22 per cent on average. As adults, they are also at increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)   period from birth to two years of age is the “critical window” for the promotion of good growth, health, and behavioral and cognitive developmentmothers are empowered to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth, breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue to breastfeed for two years or more, together with nutritionally adequate, safe, age appropriate, responsive complementary feeding starting at six months.  Maternal nutrition is also important for ensuring good nutrition status of the infant as well as safeguarding women's health.  . The Deadly Opposition to Genetically Modified Food Vitamin A deficiency has killed 8 million kids in...

Words: 10134 - Pages: 41