Circular Migration and Young Child Malnutrition in Guatemala

by Charles H. Teller, William Butz

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This paper was originally presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, April 14-16, 1983, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It explores the relationship between circular migration and one of its possible social consequences: changes in a young child's nutritional status. The authors raise two questions: (1) Are circular migrants at higher risk to certain negative consequences, in this case malnutrition of their children, than their nonmigrant neighbors? (2) If they are a special risk group, is this related more to their low socioeconomic status or to the actual experience of frequent, temporal migratory events? The findings suggest, among other things, that migration activity and patterns should be explicitly measured and their effects evaluated in nutrition and health studies, and that nutritional interventions might be most effective if they focused on the children of migrants during the migratory period and not after it.

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