Fear, violence, inequality, and stunting in Guatemala.

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Bogin, Barry
Year of Publication: 2021
Journal: Am J Hum Biol
Pagination: e23627
Date Published: 2021 Jun 14
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1520-6300

BACKGROUND: Stunting is defined by the public health community as a length- or height-for-age <-2 SD of a growth standard or reference and is claimed to be caused by poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Stunting is common at all income levels in middle- and low-income countries. At the higher income levels, stunting is unlikely to be caused by nutrient deficiency or infectious disease.

RESULTS: In Guatemala, 17% of <5-year-olds in the highest family income quintile are stunted. Guatemala has a history of violence from armed conflict, current-day social and economic inequalities, government corruption, and threat of kidnapping for the wealthiest families.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The high level of persistent violence creates an ecology of fear, an extreme range of inequalities in Social-Economic-Political-Emotional resources, and biosocial stress that inhibits skeletal growth and causes stunting for people of all income levels.

DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.23627
Alternate Journal: Am J Hum Biol