Human Nutrition in the Developing World

by Michael C. Latham

by Michael C. Latham

Pub.: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), (Food and Nutrition Series, V. 29, No. 2). FAO Bookshop, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, ITALY. Year: 1997. Paperback. 508 pp. ISBN: 925103818X. E-mail:

Reviewed by Joan Allen-Peters
This book may be ordered online through Hunger Notes’ bookstore.

FAO promotes this as a ‘comprehensive introduction to nutritional problems in developing countries,’ and from the perspective of someone who has been looking for just such a resource text for undergraduates majoring in nutrition, their statement is accurate but perhaps overly modest!

Dr. Latham’s many years of teaching in the field of international nutrition provide the basis for a broad and scientifically sound coverage of nutrition issues. Even more important for those interested in the holistic approach to health, nutrition and development, the book examines not only the major nutritional disorders, their causes and prevention, but also the factors contributing to these. Food production, food security, health status, and social and cultural factors are all given careful consideration.

The book pays special attention to the important role that food security, adequate care and good health play as prerequisites to human nutritional well-being. There is a welcome emphasis on the value of multidisciplinary applied approaches to overcoming malnutrition, especially those that are food-based and truly sustainable.

Part V of ‘Human Nutrition in the Developing World’ reviews nutrition policies and programs in a number of timely and relevant areas, including nutrition surveillance, food safety, micronutrient deficiencies, group feeding and street foods. Useful annexes, including tables of recommended nutrient intakes, nutrient content of selected foods, and anthropometric tables complete the practical information provided. Attractive illustrations, including some from the second edition of the excellent Savage-Kind and Burgess text ‘Nutrition for Developing Countries,’ add to the readability and interest level of the text.

This is an ideal text not only for formal undergraduate teaching in international nutrition, but also as a reference for community health, education and agriculture workers looking for simple and practical information to help solve problems of undernutrition in the developing world.

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