Part III. Assessing natural food sources of Vitamin A in the community 6. Background and introduction Eating Vitamin A-rich vegetable food Cultural beliefs regarding key foods Food patterns Food preparation Nightblindness. It has been estimated that approximatelynew cases of xerophthalmia with corneal involvement occur annually in Asia, about half of which may lead to blindness.
Before and at the early stage of the founding of The People's Republic of China, vitamin A deficiency was a serious problem and one of the major causes of blindness, especially among children.
Along with the development of the national economy and the medical care and health services extended to rural areas, the vitamin A nutritional status has greatly improved. It was recently reported that since the s the incidence of xerophthalmia in China has fallen below. According to a nutrition survey carried out inthe incidence of vitamin A deficiency was. In recent years few cases of xerophthalmia have been reported.
However, it was reported that serum retinol levels of rural preschool children were quite low. Of children, six to thirty-six months old in rural northern China, 8. In a high esophageal cancer incidence area in northern China, 8. The incidence of nightblindness is not high.
Two studies showed that supplementation of six-month to three-year-old rural children with large doses of vitamin A decreased the incidence and severity of diarrhea and respiratory disease ificantly. A ificant decrease in the percentage of children with low height and weight was also observed. In summary, vitamin A, deficiency is possibly a serious problem among infants and children in China, especially in poor, remote, mountainous areas.
It is located in the southeast part of the vast Hua Bei flatland.
It is an ancient city with many cultural and historical assets. Due to the geographical location of the Kai Feng City, it has suffered from many natural disasters, such as flood, insects, etc. The dike of the Yellow River breached an average of every two years from to During that time, life mainly depended on the weather and nature. After the liberation, Chairman Mao and the government made great efforts to control the Yellow River.
Many irrigation systems and networks were constructed. The Yellow River has been totally controlled and has not breached the dikes since MAP 4. The northwest side is generally higher than the southeast. The total area of Kai Feng municipality is square kilometers and the city covers square kilometers.
The total population is 4.
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The average temperature is The average annual rainfall is about mm. Doumen is one of fifteen administrative villages of the west suburb township of Kai Feng city with a distance of ten kilometers. It is five kilometers from the Yellow River. The altitude of the Doumen community is ten meters lower than the bed of the Yellow River.
The study was conducted in Zhang and Tian Doumen. Zhang Doumen has thirty-seven households and a population of Tian Doumen has ninety-six households and a population of The total cultivated land area of these communities is mu, which equals about hectares.
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More than three-fourths of the land is sandy and cannot be irrigated. The average cultivated land is about four mu per capita. The net annual income is about RMB per capita. Wheat, corn, roots, and beans are the main grain crops raised.
The economic crops are peanuts, watermelons, and cotton. There are two village clinics in this community. One village doctor, Mr. Ma, practices both Western and Chinese medicine.
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The other, Mr. Liu, has practiced Chinese medicine for more than twenty years. Neither graduated from the medical university, but both were trained and passed the government medical examination. Li Wen Jun. Li Dan, and Ms. Chang Su Ying as the primary interviewers, assisted by Mrs. Bai Yan, Miss Yuan, and Mr. Wang Wei Dong. The group divided into three teams. Li Wen Jun with Mrs. Chang with Mr. Li Dan and Miss Chang were trained for two days by Dr.
Li using the English manual. All team members were trained for two days using the Chinese translation of the English manual. All other staff members also received training. Li Dan, and Miss Chang conducted the basic interviews. The other three persons took notes and assisted in local dialectical translation, as they are local persons.
The interviewers were taken to the houses of key-informants and to the sample of respondents, by the local village doctors. The local village doctors Mr. Ma, Western medicine and Mr. Liu, Chinese medicine helped find key-informants, and introduced the researchers to the individual households including the selected respondent households. The interviewers visited each house an average of four times.
How Is Food Acquired? In this area of central China, those in farming communities grow a ificant part of their food, but they also rely on local markets for food not grown at home. In Doumen the soil is sandier than that in some of the neighboring communities, so unlike rural families in most parts of China, the people in Doumen are less reliant on home gardens. The main local crops are soybeans, long kidney beans, hot peppers, peanuts, some varieties of melons, and wheat.
Depending on soil conditions, some houses have no home gardens, while others invest considerable energy into cultivating them. In addition to the vegetable crops grown locally, most households raise goats, pigs, and chickens, and some have ducks.
Nearly all households have egg-producing chickens. They do not sell eggs, but consume them themselves. Some families buy eggs in the market from time to time. They also rely on their own animals for meat that they consume mainly on special occasions, such as the Moon Festival, the New Year, and other special family observances including visits of relatives from other regions.
Some households obtain foods from small-scale local vendors and traders. For example, an individual may buy a sack of rice perhaps in Kai Feng City or another regionand then bicycle into Doumen to trade the rice for wheat in local households. Another individual may produce a basket of bean curd tofu and go to the village to trade cakes of bean curd for soybeans.
Dried noodles, bean sprouts, and some vegetables are traded in the same way.
Only a small amount of food is acquired in this manner, but this method may become more ificant as new entrepreneurial activities develop in the area. Local Markets There are two small gallery shops that sell beer, wine, soft drinks, cigarettes, biscuits, infant formula milk powder, fast noodles, soy sources, cooking spices, and other commodities, but vegetables and fruits are usually purchased from the Wang Fu Zai market or in Kai Feng City.
The nearest market is in Wang Fu Zai, a distance of three kilometers on the paved all-weather road. Market days are every third day of the lunar moon, as follows: third, sixth, ninth, thirteenth, sixteenth, nineteenth, twenty-third, twenty-sixth, and twenty-ninth. There is no bus service from the village to Wang Fu Zai; the main means of transportation are bicycles, small tractors, and carts pulled by donkeys, mules, or horses. Bicycles seem to be the most important means of transportation for both people and their goods.
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The list of products purchased regularly in the market is long, but the main food items purchased are shown in Table 6. TABLE 6. A more complete list of foods purchased in the market and the usual price range is provided in the community food system data tables. Most of the daily food consumed is obtained from that market. A few purchases are made in Kai Feng City, when people have other business to transact there, when guests are expected, or when it is not the market day in Wang Fu Zai. Non-Animal Foods Table 6. All of this food is seasonal. I he wild foods the last three items are available only for short periods in the spring.
Other food items are most abundant in summer and fall.