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Books received

Care and nutrition: Concepts and measurement. Patrice L. Engle, Purnima Menon, and Lawrence Haddad. Food Consumption and Nutrition Division Paper No. 18. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, D.C., 1996. 76 pages, paperback.

The concept of “care” as an analytical construct is still new to many outside the nutrition field. Moreover, for those in the field, care is problematic from the measurement point of view. This paper provides an effective introduction to care for the former group, and a useful summary of attempts to develop care indicators for the latter group. Care is the provision in the household and the community of time, attention, and support to meet the physical, mental, and social needs of the growing child and other household members. The significance of care has been best articulated in the UNICEF framework. This paper extends the model presented by UNICEF by defining resources for care and specific care behaviours, and presenting an argument for the importance of child characteristics in determining the level of care received. The chapter on “Measurement of Care” includes sections on caregiver education, knowledge, and beliefs; physical health and nutritional status; mental health and self-confidence; autonomy and control of resources; workload and time availability; and family and community social support. The care behaviours discussed here are two of the six proposed: feeding and psychosocial care. The chapter on “Indicators of Care Provision” includes time spent in child care and specific care behaviours. This paper also proposes an orientation to the measurement of care and provides suggestions for indicators for care resources and the two care behaviours, based on a summary of recent literature. Finally, the paper argues for greater attention to research on the causal linkages between care and child nutrition. An extensive bibliography is provided.

Green vegetation fractionation technology. Narendra Singh. Science Publishers, Inc., Lebanon, N.H., USA, 1996. (ISBN 1-886106-66-5) 238 pages, hard-cover. US$64.00.

This book continues the crusade of N. W. Pirie from the 1940s to the 1980s to promote “leaf protein concentrate.” The wide range of potential plant sources reviewed makes its title appropriate. The mature technology for this kind of product is well described, including a solvent-extracted product that is decolourized. All of the arguments for its potential, including its resource-efficient, wasteless, and ecology-friendly character, are covered, but so are the disappointing practical experiences in both industrialized and developing countries because of poor acceptability and relatively high cost. It is useful to have this updated and frank account of the current status of a commendable concept that has not overcome its inherent limitations.

Handbook of fat replacers. Edited by Sibel Roller and Sylvia A. Jones. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., USA, 1996. (ISBN 0-8493-2512-9) 325 pages, hard-cover. US$99.95.

The nutritional need for fat reduction in the Western diet is increasingly recognized, and the response of the food industry has been phenomenal. There are now more than 200 ingredients commercially available, or at different stages of development, that can be used to replace fat in foods. This handbook provides detailed information on the science and application of fat replacers in food products, including a wide range of technological, legislative, sensory, and marketing issues. An appendix provides a comprehensive list of fat replacers keyed to chapters in which they are discussed.

Immunobiology: The immune system in health and disease. Second edition. Charles A. Janeway, Jr., and Paul Travers. Garland Publishing, New York, 1996. (ISBN 0-8153-2044-2) paperback. US$39.95.

The field of immunology continues to move at an astonishing rate, and the amount of information to be mastered has become prodigious. This introductory text for medical and graduate students focuses mainly on the adaptive immune response mediated by antigen-specific lymphocytes operating by clonal selection. It describes in detail the mechanisms of action of the various types of T cells responsible for cell-mediated immunity and of B cells responsible for humoral immunity, their interactions, and the complexities of their modulation by cytokines. It describes the cells, tissues, and molecules of the immune system and provides a “toolbox” of techniques that form the experimental basis of immunology. Well-conceived diagrams document every type of interaction. The table of contents, list of figures, page numbers that begin with each chapter, and an unusually detailed index facilitate the use of this book. This book makes no attempt to even mention nutritional factors that can influence both cell-mediated and humoral immunity, even though the deficiency of almost any essential nutrient, if sufficiently severe, impairs various immune functions. Thus, it is an outstanding source of basic knowledge and techniques for those wishing to study or understand the potential relationships between nutrition and immunity, but they must look elsewhere for the abundant specific evidence of nutritional effects.

Pesticide residues in food - 1995. Toxicological and environmental evaluation. Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues. World Health Organization, Geneva (ISBN 92-4-166511-4) 498 pages, paperback. SwF100; SwF70 in developing countries.

Preventive nutrition. The comprehensive guide for health professionals. Adrianne Bendich and Richard J. Dekelbaum. The Humana Press, Totowa, N.J., USA, 1997. (ISBN 0-896-03351-1) 579 pages, hard-cover. US$125.00.

Preventive nutrition refers to dietary practices and interventions directed towards reduced disease risk and/or improvement in health outcomes. Examples include the reduction of fat and saturated fat intakes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, the iodation of salt for the prevention of iodine-deficiency disorders, and the fortification of staple foods with essential nutrients. Health professionals are asked for advice on fibre, carotenoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in specific foods, and the relationship of diet to immunocompetence, osteoporosis, diabetes, cataracts, and cancer. This book provides the available evidence and current consensus or controversy on these and other relationships between diet and health. The key research linking nutritional status with the prevention of birth defects and optimization of birth outcomes is reviewed, and the old assumption that women can wait for prenatal care until weeks or months after conception is demonstrated to be invalid.

A chapter on homocysteine, folic acid, and cardiovascular risk strongly recommends the fortification of cereal grains with folic acid at 350 mg/100 g to help prevent neural tube defects. It also examines the postulated positive relationship between iron status and heart disease and concludes that most of the evidence fails to support the hypothesis. This is an important conclusion, because the possibility is sometimes raised as an argument against the iron fortification of staple foods, even in populations with a high prevalence of iron-deficiency anaemia. A comprehensive analysis of relationships between nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron, in infancy and later cognitive performance is lacking, and it does not cover the significance of iron deficiency at any age for immunocompetence, morbidity, and physical capacity. Despite such deficiencies, this book is highly recommended, not only for its practical and objective coverage of many important nutritional and health issues, but also for the concise summaries and specific recommendations on them at the end of each chapter.

Textbook of hematology. Second edition. Shirlyn B. McKenzie. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, Md., USA, 1996. (ISBN 0-683-18016-9) 733 pages, paperback. US$56.95.

This book begins with normal haematopoiesis but focuses primarily on haemolytic diseases. The characteristics of nutritional anaemias are described, but the emphasis is on haemoglobinopathies. The text serves these purposes well, but it does not deal with either the epidemiology or the functional consequences of nutritional anaemias.

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