The underdevelopment of nutrition and health in northern Manitoba : a case study of modernization and bottle feeding

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Harder, Allen Edgar
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This study develops a theoretical/conceptual framework for examining the underdevelopment of the nutrition and health of an impoverished and disadvantaged people living in the midst of an affluent, advantaged society. This thesis addresses four main problems. The first problem examined is whether modernization and socio-economic development contribute to or detract from human well-being in the form of good nutrition and good health. The second problem is the need to develop a theoretical perspective where nutrition and health, which inherently belong to the ecological paradigm, can be related to the modernization/underdevelopment paradigm, which is inherently sociological and economic in orientation. The third problem concerns the mechanisms by means of which the modernization and underdevelopment processes generate the structures which are expressed in the nutritional and health status of an impoverished people. The fourth problem is to determine whether northern Manitoba fits the Third World paradigm or if it exhibits the characteristics which make the region and its people a unique case of underdevelopment. The historical process-structure method is used to identify the historical processes of underdevelopment and the contemporary processes of modernization which generate structures of poverty, malnourishment and ill health... This study identifies the modern market economy as the principal agent of the modernization process... The case study on bottle feeding provides a near ideal example of how modernization, nutrition and health interact in the infant. Bottle feeding is examined from an ecological perspective to identify environmental, nutritional, medical, social, cultural and economic mechanisms which interact to generate appallingly poor nutrition and health among impoverished people who are modernized without leaving their poverty behind.