Nutrition and Growth in Early Childhood among the Garifuna and Creole of Belize

  • Carol Jenkins


The presence of nutritional stress and growth retardation among the children of Central America and the Caribbean has been well documented (Bengoa, 1975; Gueri, 1981; Mcintosh, 1980). Although Mestizos, or people of mixed European and Amerindian stocks, and indigenous Amerindian peoples make up the majority of Central America’s inhabitants, descendants of African– derived populations may be found in communities along the Caribbean coast, stretching from Panama to Belize. In Belize, people of African descent comprised approximately 64% of the total population in 1976 (Belize, 1976). They are divided into two distinct ethnic groups, the Garifuna, or Black Carib, and the Creole. As the majority, with 56% of the total population, the Creole enjoys relatively higher status in social, political, and economic spheres than does the Garifuna (Sanford, 1974; Cosminsky, 1977; Kerns, 1977; Chibnik, 1975). Although there appears to be less congruency between ethnic and socioeconomic status in Belize than in other nations — for example, Guyana (Despres, 1975) or Guatemala (Newman, 1977) — class distinctions are growing. Differential access to wealth and resources remains largely conditioned by historical and occupational factors related to cultural heritage. These differences are reflected in the health status of children, especially between birth and 5 years of age.


African Ancestry Nutritional Stress Recommended Dietary Allowance Dietary Allowance Food Composition Table 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Medical ResearchMadangPapue New Guinea

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