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Title: Short stature and food habits as determining factors for the low productivity of sugarcane labourers in the State of Alagoas, north-eastern Brazil
Authors: Florencio, Telma T.
Ferreira, Haroldo S.
Cavalcante, Jairo Calado
Assuncao, Monica L. de
Sawaya, Ana Lydia [UNIFESP]
Univ Fed Alagoas
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Keywords: rural workers
energy intake
Issue Date: 1-Mar-2008
Publisher: Archivos Latinoamericanos Nutricion
Citation: Archivos Latinoamericanos De Nutricion. Caracas: Archivos Latinoamericanos Nutricion, v. 58, n. 1, p. 33-39, 2008.
Abstract: Undernutrition, especially in the prenatal period and/or until 5 years of age, can cause stunting. Adults with short stature resultant from this process show a series of functional deficits, amongst which is a reduced capacity to do physical work. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the dietary pattern, nutritional status and stature of sugarcane cutters, and to determine possible associations with worker productivity. Sixty-two male sugarcane cutters (18-50 y) were selected randomly from a population of 600 workers from a plantation in Alagoas (Brazil), and classified as underweight, normal weight or overweight according to BMI (BMI = 21.5, 21.5 to = 25 and >25 kg/m(2), respectively). Body fat composition (%) was estimated by electrical bioimpedance and dietary intake by the direct weighing of food consumed. Whilst the average productivity was 8.13 ton/day, labourers with normal BMI values were more productive (9.12 ton/dia) and ingested significantly (p<0.05) greater amounts of energy (16506.4 kJ/dia) than their underweight (7.48 +/- 1.5; 12380.7 +/- 4184.1) or overweight (9.12 +/- 1.5; 16506.4 +/- 6360.0) counterparts, respectively. There were associations (p<0.05) between productivity, stature, energy intake and age. The tallest individuals (= 170 cm) had higher productivity and tended to have a higher energy intake, whilst those with the shortest stature (= 160 cm), had a significantly lower productivity, however ingested a similar quantity of energy, and tended to have a large accumulation of body fat. Multiple regression analysis identified stature as the parameter most associated with productivity, independent of age and body fat percentage. Productivity of the tallest individuals was 1.87 ton/day higher than that of the shortest individuals. The results emphasise the importance of good nutritional status throughout life for full development of working productivity.
ISSN: 0004-0622
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