Children of the Urban Poor: The Sociocultural Environment of Growth, Development, and Malnutrition in Guatemala City

Children of the Urban Poor: The Sociocultural Environment of Growth, Development, and Malnutrition in Guatemala City

Children of the Urban Poor: The Sociocultural Environment of Growth, Development, and Malnutrition in Guatemala City

Children of the Urban Poor: The Sociocultural Environment of Growth, Development, and Malnutrition in Guatemala City

Synopsis

"This book presents the results of a comprehensive longitudinal and cross-sectional seven-year study of the social ecology of growth and development of over 500 children living in a disadvantaged community on the edge of Guatemala City. A wide range of sociocultural, behavioral, and demographic data are brought together into a model that analyzes their relationship to physical growth, nutritional status, mental development, and school achievement from one through eleven years of age. The results are related broadly to the recent social and political history of Guatemala." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Guatemala suffers from a set of intractable problems: a society highly stratified along both class and ethnic lines . . .appalling poverty for the lower stratum, a pronounced urban-rural dichotomy, repressive and unstable government, and extremist political groups on either end of the political spectrum who are committed to using violence (Colburn 1986: 243).

Guatemala as a developing country shares with many other nations a series of social, economic, and political problems and historical circumstances that create an environment in which children are vulnerable to poor health and malnutrition and other development related maladies. This introductory chapter addresses the concept of environmental vulnerability by examining the sociopolitical, ethnohistorical and sociocultural context of this ecology of malnutrition. The malnutrition of children is attributed to a legacy of social and political inequality, economic relations, discriminatory social practices, and uneven development, causing rapid urbanization and migration and military regimes of violence and terror. These realities provide a backdrop of for the study of children's growth and development within an urban resettled neighborhood on the edge of Guatemala City.

We begin with this broad picture in order to capture some of the complexity of what constitutes the sociocultural environment and to immerse the reader in . . .

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