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History and design of the INCAP longitudinal study (1969-77) and its follow-up (1988-89)(¹,²)

The INCAP longitudinal study (1969-77)
The INCAP follow-up study (1988-89)
Literature cited


*Departament Of International Health, The Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322; † Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6301; and ‡ Centro de Investigacines de Salud Pública Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, 62508 Cuernavaca, Morelos, México

¹Presented in the symposium on Nutrition in Early Childhood and its Long-Term Functional Significance, FASEB, April 6, 1992, Anaheim, CA. Published as a supplement to the Journal of Nutrition. Guest editors for this supplemental publication were Reynaldo Martorell, The Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, Atlanta, GA, and Nevin Scrimshaw, The United Nations University, Boston, MA.

² Supported by National Institute of Health grant HD-22440.

³ To whom correspondence should be addressed: Department of International Health, The Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

ABSTRACT This is an overview of the design and methods of the INCAP longitudinal study (1969-77) and its follow-up study (1988-89). The first study had the objective of assessing the effects of intrauterine and preschool malnutrition on growth and mental development. To achieve this, food supplements were provided to pregnant women and young children residing in four Cuatemalan villages. Two villages were given a high-protein, high-energy drink and two were provided a no-protein, low-energy drink. Both supplements contained vitamins and minerals. Longitudinal information was collected during the first seven years of life on physical growth, mental development, attendance and consumption of supplement, home diet, morbidity and on characteristics of the family. Health and nutrition data on mothers also were collected. The INCAP follow-up study was a cross-sectional evaluation of former participants of the first study and was carried out when the subjects were 11-27 y old. The hypothesis of the INCAP follow-up study was that improved nutrition in early childhood leads to enhanced human capital formation in adolescents and adults. Data were collected on physical growth and body composition, maturation, work capacity, intellectual performance and school achievement. J. Nutr. 125: 1027S-1041S, 1995.


• malnutrition
• supplementation
• field methods
• growth and development

The INCAP longitudinal study (1969-1977) continues to be one of the richest sources of information about the importance of nutrition for growth and development in children from developing countries. One of two key objectives of this paper is to provide an overview of the objectives, design and methods of this study, drawing heavily on a review by Habicht and Martorell (1992). In 1988-89, the children of the study were revisited when they were adolescents and young adults in what has come to be known as the "INCAP follow-up study". The second objective is to review the characteristics of the follow-up study, this time using material presented in Martorell and Rivera (1992) and in Rivera, Martorell and Castro (1992).

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