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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


MARTINEZ-CARRION, José M.; CAMARA, Antonio D.  y  PEREZ-CASTROVIEJO, Pedro María. Anthropometric measures of Spanish conscripts prior to the nutrition transition: analysis of spatial inequalities (1858-1913). Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2016, vol.33, n.6, pp.1477-1486. ISSN 1699-5198.

Objective: To explore the regional pattern of nutritional status and its evolution between the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century in Spain. This period precedes the nutrition transition and it was characterized by the high prevalence of malnutrition. Methods: We use anthropometric data (province-level height means) from conscription in 1858 y 1913 as well as province-level means of height and weight from a large examination held among 119,571 soldiers in 1903-1906. These data are used to construct anthropometric cartography and descriptive statistics. Results: The complexion of Spanish conscripts as indicated by height and weight measures was among the lowest in Europe prior to the nutrition transition in this country. Male average height increased only 1.43 cm between 1858 and 1913. During that period significant changes in the anthropometric geography occurred in Spain which established a nutritional polarity on the eve of the World War I (WWI): inner and Southern provinces exhibited higher incidence of malnutrition whereas provinces in the North and East of the country displayed anthropometric figures above the national average. Conclusion: Spatial inequalities of nutritional status in Spain as reflected by anthropometric polarity may be largely associated with environmental changes. Such changes are related to the modernization and industrialization processes in this country at the time that a relative backwardness (e.g. economic and technological), structural scarcity, occasional subsistence and high exposure to illness persisted. Our results underline the utility of anthropometric data to approach the living conditions of past population and the process of nutrition transition in particular.

Palabras clave : Anthropometry; Spatial inequalities; Nutritional status; Nutrition transition; Spain.

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