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Heights, Nutrition, and Well-Being in Argentina, ca. 1850–1950. Preliminary Results

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2010

Ricardo D. Salvatore
Affiliation:
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

Abstract

This essay presents recent estimates of average heights for different regions of Argentina during the period 1850–1950. This evidence, taken from registers of prisoners and military recruits, serves to question some traditional views of Argentine economic growth based on income and wage data. The essay suggests that the era of liberal progress resulted in less welfare among the lower classes than is usually assumed. A similar situation occurred during the agrarian-export growth of the first decade of the 20th century. In contrast, the period known as the «great delay» wit- nessed notable improvements in biological welfare, particularly during the 1930s. In addition, height estimates indicate that during WWII and the first Peronist administrations there was a nutritional setback in the Buenos Aires industrial belt. Data on the provincial distribution of heights for the 1920s show an important degree of regional inequality.

Resumen

Este ensayo presenta resultados de estimaciones de estaturas medias para diversas regiones de Argentina durante el período 1850–1950. Esta evidencia, tomada de registros de reclutas y prisioneros, es utilizada para cuestionar algunas de las generalizaciones sobre el crecimiento económico argentino, basadas en datos de ingresos per-cápita y salarios. Se sostiene que, en términos de estatus nutricional y de salud, la era del progreso liberal derramó menos bienestar que el esperado. Algo similar ocurrió con el crecimiento agro-exportador de principios del siglo XX. Por el contrario, el período conocido como la «gran demora» —el período de inter-guerras— fue testigo de notables aumentos de bienestar biológico, particularmente en la década de 1930. Se sugiere también que durante la segunda guerra mundial y los primeros gobiernos peronistas, las estimaciones sobre alturas indican un retraso nutricional y de salud en el conurbano bonaerense. El ensayo presenta además datos sobre la distribución regional de las alturas, que reflejan un alto grado de desigualdad regional hacia la década de 1920.

Type
Articles/Artículos
Copyright
Copyright © Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid 2007

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