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Books received

Nutritional anthropology: Prospects and perspectives. S. J. Ulijasek and S. S. Strickland. Smith-Gordon, London, 1993. (ISBN 1-85463-037-7) 176 pages, paperback. 18.

Nutritional anthropology is a field growing in scope and number of practitioners. It adds another dimension to epidemiological and evaluation studies and can contribute importantly to the design, evaluation, and improvement of interventions. The UNU-sponsored RAP manual Rapid Assessment Procedures for Nutrition and Primary Health Care (by S. C. M. Scrimshaw and E. Hurtado [Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center, 1987]) successfully introduced the use of qualitative anthropologically derived approaches for this purpose but did not attempt to provide a broad conceptual basis for nutritional anthropology as a discipline (cf. also Rapid Assessment Procedures: Qualitative Methodologies for Planning and Evaluation of Health Related Programmes, N. S. Scrimshaw and G. Gleason, eds. [Boston, Mass., USA: INFDC, 1992]). This book admirably fills that need. Its chapters cover anthropological perspectives on nutritional adaptation, fertility, pregnancy, lactation, seasonality, human growth, food consumption, and climatic adaptation.

The book notes that nutritional anthropology "has evolved through assimilation of methods and data from other fields, notably biological anthropology, and its foundation in evolutionary theory, ecology, medicine, epidemiology, and the nutritional sciences." Implicit in anthropological approaches to nutrition is an understanding that problems usually arise from the interaction of hierarchically organized variables that can be identified by a combination of open and guided interviews, conversations, participant observations, and well designed questionnaires. This book will be useful for nutritionists interested in learning anthropological principles and will also serve as a reference text for courses in nutritional anthropology.


Nutritional assessment: A laboratory manual. Rosalind S. Gibson. Oxford University Press, New York, 1993. (ISBN 0-19-508547-7) 196 pages, paperback, spiral binding. US$29.95.

This manual was written to accompany the author's text Principles of Nutritional Assessment (Oxford University Press, New York, 1990; reviewed in the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 1) but it is not dependent on the prior volume. It presents, clearly and concisely, basic instructions for carrying out and interpreting dietary, anthropometric, and biochemical assessments suitable for mass surveys. It is particularly designed for training purposes; the biochemical methods have been selected as appropriate for use by students with limited practical laboratory experience, making it valuable for use in developing countries. Commercial kits are used for some methods to minimize preparation time and maximize accuracy and precision. A useful glossary and a number of informative appendices are included. Clinical evaluation of nutritional status is not included.


Methods for field trials of interventions against tropical diseases: A toolbox. Edited by P. G. Smith and Richard H. J. Morrow. Oxford University Press, New York, 1991. (ISBN 0-19262017-7) 326 pages, paperback.

This WHO-sponsored manual serves as a valuable reference volume during the different stages of planning, conducting and analysing a field trial. It has been field-tested in draft form and used in workshops on field research. While the title indicates the motivation for its preparation, almost all of the material is equally relevant to nutrition field studies. It should be available to anyone responsible for the design, conduct, or analysis of nutrition-and health-related field studies, regardless of any other manuals that they use.

The book's discussions of the definition of study objectives, selection of interventions, obtaining approvals, ethical considerations, sample sizes, adequate controls, questionnaires and interviews, data handling and processing, methods of analysis, and dissemination of results are the best available. The section on field laboratory methods deals with problems of sample collection and transport rather than specific methodologies. Nutritionists will need to supplement this section with a manual on methods, as will those concerned with tropical infectious diseases.


Rapid appraisal of health nutrition in a PHC project in Pahou, Benin. C. M. Varkevisser, E. Alihonou, and S. Inoussa. KIT Press, Amsterdam. (ISBN 90-6832-079-3) 110 pages, paperback. Nfl 15.


Community participation in primary health care: The case of Gakpe, Benin. E. Alihonou, S. Inoussa, L. Res, M. Sagbohan, and C. M. Varkevisser. (Summary of the French version) KIT Press, Amsterdam. (ISBN 90-6832-077-7) Nfl 15.


Nutrition in primary health care: Experiences in Pa. hou, Benin. U. H. Renqvist, A. Sagbohan, S. Inoussa, and E. Alihonou. (Summary of the French version) KIT Press, Amsterdam. (ISBN 90-6832081-5) Nfl 15.

These three reports of studies carried out using rapid rural appraisal (RRA) strategies applied to primary health care in communities in Benin provide further evidence of the value of the people-oriented RRA and rapid assessment procedures (RAP) approaches. They describe successful practical experiences and are easily read. They should be obtained for use as examples in any workshop or training exercise designed to teach participatory methods to health workers.

The series, published in cooperation with CREDESA in Benin, may be ordered from CREDESA, P.O. Box 1822, Cotonou, Benin. Review copies of the French editions are also available.


The challenge of famine: Recent experience, lessons learned. Edited by John Osgood Field. Kumarian Press, West Hartford, Conn., USA, 1993. (ISBN 156549-018-5) 279 pages, paperback. US$24.95.

Most of the chapters of this book are written by academics concerned with food-policy issues who participated in a workshop on Famine and Famine Policy held at Tufts University. An NGO perspective is provided by a chapter on Oxfam America's disaster responses, which documents circumstances where political conflict, lack of indigenous institutions, and urgent needs make it difficult to follow established principles. The concise descriptions and analyses of recent famines in the Sahel, Ethiopia, Sudan, and elsewhere in Africa are particularly useful for students.


Hunger and public action. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen. Oxford University Press, New York, 1992. (ISBN 0-19-828365-2) 373 pages, paperback. US$16.95.

This book presents the lessons learned from appraisal of the possible roles played by government intervention, market mechanisms, and private efforts to deal with the problem of hunger in today's world. The first four chapters present a general analysis of the economic, social, political, and medical background to the problems of starvation and undernutrition in the contemporary world. They are followed by chapters analysing the major strategic and tactical issues in famine prevention and the diverse problems of persistent undernutrition and endemic deprivation. The final section examines the diverse roles of public actions against hunger and specific comments on some of the more debatable issues. This is a comprehensive and valuable volume by two outstanding authorities.


Dancing skeletons: Life and death in West Africa. Katherine A. Dettwyler. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, 111., USA, 1994. (ISBN 0-88133-748-x) 172 pages, paperback; plus 31 page accompanying instructor's manual. US$9.50.

This book, based on bicultural research on infant feeding and child health in Mali, is intended for introductory and advanced courses in anthropology and maternal and child health. It covers the ethnography of the Mali people, death and disease in Mali, practical research methodologies, and the pitfalls of ethnocentrism. It is written in personal narrative form and is admirable for its stated purposes.


Protein energy malnutrition. John C. Waterlow, with Andrew M. Tomkins and Sally M. Grantham-McGregor. Edward Arnold, London, 1992. (ISBN 0340-50127-8) 407 pages, hardback. 50. (Available for developing countries in paperback from TALC, PO Box 49, St. Albans, Herts AL1 4AX, UK; 7 surface, 8 airmail.)

Despite hundreds of scientific articles and some good reviews, there has been no comprehensive book on Kwashiorkor since 1954 (H. C. Trowell, J. N. P. Davies, and R. F. A. Dean, Kwashiorkor: Part 1. Reports of Kwashiorkor in Children and a Discussion of Terminology. Part 11. The History of Kwashiorkor [Edward Arnold, London, 1954]). This book authoritatively covers not only this severe form of protein-energy malnutrition but also its milder forms, with all the known aspects of the syndrome, including assessment and prevention. It is written with a breadth of understanding and historical perspective that only Waterlow, the foremost living authority on the subject, could provide. The important role of infection is covered in a well-written chapter by Tomkins, and Grantham-McGregor provides a review of evidence for the effect of protein-energy malnutrition on mental development, including her own studies of the impact of chronic subclinical forms. Like all books written primarily by a single author, there are a few other considerations that could have been included, but this does not detract from Waterlow's achievement in producing this volume, which should be in the library of every clinical and public health nutrition scientist.


Dietary fiber in human nutrition. 2nd edition. Edited by Gene A. Spiller. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., USA, 1993. (ISBN 0-8493-4249-x) 648 pages, hardback. US$108.

The 1970s and 1980s experienced an exponential growth of interest and research on dietary fibre, which was summarized in the first edition of this book in 1985. There has continued to be extraordinary interest and progress in dietary fibre research that justifies revision of some of the previous chapters and the addition of new material. The 46 individually authored chapters provide a comprehensive review and evaluation of currently available information on this topic.


The political economy of food and nutrition policies. Edited by Per Pinstrup-Andersen. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., USA, 1993. (ISBN 0-8-18-4480-0). 278 pages, hardback. US$42.50.

This volume consists of 14 chapters written by a distinguished group of leading authorities to extend the analysis of food and nutrition policy beyond the simple measurement of costeff-ectiveness. Quantitative and qualitative data from Asia, Latin America, and the United States provide evidence of national political-economy issues related to food and nutrition and their impact at local and household levels. Two chapters explore the relationship of nutrition to labour activity, and three deal with implications for the design of programmes, policies, and research. In the final chapter, the editor provides a valuable analysis of the lessons learned from integrating political and economic considerations into programmes and policies meant to improve nutrition. A single comprehensive reference list is provided, and the index is adequate. This is an essential book for scholars, teachers, and students in courses concerned with the political economy of food and nutrition.


Learning to listen to mothers: A trainer's manual to strengthen communication skill for nutrition and growth promotion. Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC, 1993. 84 pages, ring binder with paper cover. Individual copies free to developing-country institutions and individuals; US$4 for all other orders.

This is another in the growing number of manuals designed to assist field workers in applying methods for learning from and involving the individual and the community in the tradition of rapid rural assessment (RRA) and rapid assessment procedures (RAP). It outlines a two-day workshop to be conducted with community-level staff of nutrition programmes around the world, and is excellent for the purpose.


McCance and Widdowson: A scientific partnership of sixty years. Edited by Margaret Ashwell. British Nutrition Foundation, London, 1993. (ISBN 0907667-07-4) 264 pages, hardback. 19.95.

Robert A. McCance and Elsie May Widdowson are the best-known and longest-term collaborators in the history of nutrition. Their collaboration began with studies of sodium deprivation in 1933 and has continued for more than 60 years, resulting perhaps most famously in the standard reference work The Composition of Foods. They worked on the adequacy of British rations at the start of World War 11 and began the famous studies of nutrition status and the nutritional rehabilitation of concentration camp victims in Wuppertal, Germany, at the end of the war.

This book begins with short autobiographies that will be of interest to every nutrition scientist, and includes a selected list of publications. Six chapters by close friends describe some of their scientific achievements. These are followed by 22 other friends who describe day-to-day recollections of the two investigators. The book concludes by reprinting two major lectures by each. Contemporary nutrition scientists should be familiar with this nutrition history.


Use and regulation of vitamin and mineral supplements. Edited by Jaap Schrijver, Elisabet Helsing, Graham Dukes, and Ake Bruce. STYX Publications, Groningen, Netherlands, 1993. (ISBN 9072371-59-3) 102 pages, paperback. Nfl 50.

This is a study with policy recommendations based on consultations by the Nutrition Programme and the Pharmaceuticals Programme of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. With the help of an international team of experts it re-evaluates current knowledge of the role of vitamins and minerals in health and disease and considers how this knowledge can be applied to the manufacture and sale of commercial products. Its recommendations centre on national regulation and public information to ensure that the commercialization of such supplements do the greatest possible good and the least possible harm. While based on the situation and needs of the European and similar regions, it should increasingly be of concern to developing countries as well. A very useful list of references is included.


Nutritional needs in hot environments. Edited by Bernadette M. Marriott. National Academy Press Publications, Washington, D.C., 1993. (ISBN 0-30904840-0) 392 pages, paperback. US$39.

This monograph, developed by the Committee on Military Nutrition Research of the US Food and Nutrition Board, was stimulated by the need for better information on nutritional needs in hot environments, such as recently experienced by UN troops in the Middle East and Somalia. It has equal application to the civilian populations of tropical areas. Topics include the effect of heat on physiological responses, gastrointestinal function, water requirements, energetics, mineral metabolism, vitamin requirements, and appetite. An extensive bibliography on nutritional needs in hot environments is included.


Planning and managing community nutrition work: Manual for personnel involved in community nutrition. Arne Oshaug. World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, 1992. 82 pages, paperback. Free of charge.

Chapter titles include: "Where do you fit in?" `'Where do you start?" "Which projects and activities?" "What has been achieved?" For each chapter, practical examples and good teaching exercises are provided. Although developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, this very practical manual is equally useful for training community nutrition workers in other regions and is highly recommended.


Bacteriocins of lactic acid bacteria. Edited by Dallas G. Hoover and Larry R. Steenson. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, Calif., USA, 1993. (ISBN 0-12355510-8) 275 pages, hardback. US$85.

This book describes methods of detecting and purifying bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria and discusses their utilization, commercialization, regulation, and future promise. This is an authoritative book on a highly specific topic.


Introduction to food engineering. 2nd ed. Edited by R. Paul Singh and Dennis R. Heldman. Academic Press, inc., San Diego, Calif., USA, 1993. (ISBN 0-12-646381-6) 499 pages, hardback. US$55.

This is a comprehensive and well-written text for food science majors with an adequate background in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. It includes the engineering design and analysis of unit operations commonly found in food processing and covers fluid flow in food processing, thermal processing, aseptic processing and packaging, and mass transfer.


Introduction to food toxicology. Edited by Takayuki Shibamoto and Leonard F. Bjeldanes. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, Calif., USA, 1993. (ISBN 0-12-640025-3) 213 pages, hardback.

This is another comprehensive and readily understandable introductory text that will be useful not only for food science majors but also for the training of public health workers concerned with food safety.


Pesticide residues in food—1992: Toxicology evaluations. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1993. (ISBN 92-4-166508) 422 pages, paperback. Swfr 50.

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