Patterns of childhood mortality and growth status in a rural zapotec community

Robert M. Malina, John H. Himes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Infant and childhood mortality (birth to 14 years), and growth status of 143 schoolchildren (5 to 14 years) are considered for a rural, Zapotec-speaking community (population, 1703) in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Mortality statistics are based on civil records from 1945 to 1970. Growth status is based on weight and height for age, and weight for height. In the Zapotec community, about 59% of all deaths occur in children under 15 years of age; thus, a considerable percentage of individuals die before reaching reproductive age. Children under 5 years of age, however, account for approximately 54% of all deaths, and mortality in children 1 to 4 years of age is especially high (27% of all deaths). The latter figure suggests chronic malnutrition, frequent disease and generally poor circumstances in the community. This suggestion is supported in the heights and weights of schoolchildren, survivors of the rigorous selection processes of the pre-school years. The majority of children are below the 5th centile for stature in well-nourished American children. Weight for height, however, approximates that of the USA reference data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-531
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1978

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Latin American Studies of the, University of Texas at Austin. Tl:anks and appreciation are extended to Karen Smith and Jill Vexler, who recorded a portion of the data as a part of a field school assignment (NSF, GZ-1906), and to Mary Esther Bailey and Kathy Frasure who helped with preparation of the manuscript. The constructive suggestions of the editorial reviewers are greatly appreciated.


Dive into the research topics of 'Patterns of childhood mortality and growth status in a rural zapotec community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this