The Social Construction of Anemia in School Shelters for Indigenous Children in Mexico

Published In: Qualitative Health Research, v. 16, no. 4, Apr. 2006, p. 503-516

Posted on on January 01, 2006

by Bernardo Turnbull, Gloria Martinez-Andrade, Miguel Klunder, Tania Carranco, Ximena Duque-Lopez, Rosa Isela Ramos-Hernandez, Marco Gonzalez-Unzaga, Sergio Flores-Hernandez, Homero Martinez

Read More

Access further information on this document at Sage Publications

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Indigenous children in school shelters in Mexico suffer from anemia in spite of food that is subsidized, prepared, and served to them. Economically and biomedically centered strategies to reduce anemia have achieved only partial and short-term success. An interdisciplinary team investigated the food security system of the school shelters and collected data through interviews and participant observation. The analysis revealed that the children's nutrition depends on a frail chain of events in which a single link's failure can lead to nutritional insecurity. The authors conclude that the social actors involved in the process are mainly considering the economic aspects of nutrition, but anemia persists as a social construction of the faulty relationship between the institution that runs the shelters and the indigenous culture. The authors make suggestions for an intervention that empowers the community by involving it actively in solving the problem.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.