Agricultural development and nutritional status in Malawi

A. Kurth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A comparative anthropometric assessment involving 2175 measurements of 1533 children under the age of 5 was carried out in Malawi, both before and after the harvest seasons (February and May, 1985). Subjects were randomly drawn from socioeconomically similar rural environments within and outside a large-scale agricultural development project. Chronic malnutrition (height for age less than 90 per cent of the median) was found to be 36 per cent in February and 41 per cent in May. The prevalence of acute malnutrition (weight for height less than 80 per cent of the median) was 4 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. Tests of significance found no statistical difference between the project and non-project children for a variety of nutritional status indices. It is postulated that such factors as increased female access to extension services and male access to nutrition education may have greater impact on morbidity than income increases alone, and should be part of agricultural development planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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