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1. The energy balance of eleven male and fourteen female adult farmers was measured for 6 d after the harvest, in December-January. Their energy intake was recorded by weighing their food consumption and their energy expenditure was determined using indirect calorimetry.
2. Body-weight, expressed as percentage of expected weight-for-height was 91 and 86% of the Inter-departmental Committee on Nutrition for National Development (1963) standard for women and men respectively.
3. The staple foods were sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) and millet (Pennisetum typhoïdes); carbohydrates, fat and protein supplied approximately 80, 13 and 12% of the total energy of the diet respectively.
4. In the male group, the mean energy intake (9.0 MJ (2148 kcal)) was in good agreement with the average energy output (8.91 MJ (2130 kcal)). By contrast, in the female group, the mean energy expenditure (8.11 MJ (1941 kcal)) exceeded the mean energy intake (6.3 MJ (1515 kcal)) and the deficit was statistically significant.
5. This study allows an evaluation of the adequacy of food intake for subjects living in a particular hostile environment, by using their actual energy output instead of current standard values. The energy deficit found for female farmers whose energy intake was similar to that reported in other developing countries emphasizes the need for a better understanding of the regulation of energy balance in such conditions.
1. Thirty Mossi male farmers from Upper-Volta were investigated, twenty-three in the dry season (March-April) and sixteen in the rainy season (July-August), eight of them being studied twice. A 48 htime-and-motion study was carried out and the daily energy expenditure was computed.
2. The mean height was 1.70 m and the mean weight 58.5 kg. The average percentage of body fat calculated from skinfold thickness was 10.
3. During the dry season the subjects could be classified as very moderately active with an energy output of 10.1 MJ (2410 kcal)/d. By contrast, with an energy expenditure of 14.4 MJ (3460 kcal)/d, they were considered as exceptionally active in July-August when performing the agricultural work.
4. In this study we measured the intensity of physical work in a society where human labour is still the main tool of production. The determination of seasonal variations in energy expenditure may be useful to assess the nutritional requirements in arid zones of West Africa.
1.Fifteen female farmers (aged 18–47 years) from two villages of the Mossi Plateau in Upper-Volta participated in a survey in which their daily activity pattern and their energy expenditure were assessed. Eight of the subjects were investigated twice, in March (dry season) when there is no agricultural activity, and in July–August (rainy season) when heavy physical work is performed: mostly hoeing, weeding and replanting sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) and millet (Pennisetum typhoïdes).
2. The mean height was 1.57 m and the mean weight 50.6 kg. The average percentage of body fat, calculated from skinfold thickness, was comparable to that of European females but the triceps skinfold was more than 60% below the standard value (Jelliffe, 1969). The type of activities and the period of time spent on each activity changed significantly with the season. The mean energy output rose from 9.7 MJ (2320 kcal) in March to 12.1 MJ (2890 kcal) in July–August for a 55 kg standard weight.
3. In this paper, the extent of both the dally activity pattern of women living in a subsistence agriculture and their energy output is estimated. The results suggest that during the rainy season, the energy requirements of female farmers are much higher than usually estimated.
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