A Cultural Model of International Public Health Practice: Evaluation Standards for Supplementary Feeding

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This presentation will review standard practice for professional program evaluation, giving special attention to selected outcome measures and survey populations. It argues that international public health practice entails a near-exclusive focus on physical growth and development when evaluating supplementary feeding programs for mild-to-moderately malnourished children. Questioning whether the benefits typically measured are either the total or even the most important benefits to participants and their families, this presentation will outline the decision principle implicit in demonstrated data collection efforts. The practical implications of evaluation based on individual-level anthropometry will be discussed along with alternative forms of benefit, such as increased physical activity and the restoration of basal metabolic rate. It is suggested that the physical assessment of the target child in isolation underestimates program impact – first, by neglecting the range of potential benefits beyond individual anthropometry and second, by diluting subpopulation effects through aggregation. Ultimately, the intent is to emphasize how professional evaluation standards influence the types of questions that can be asked – and answered – with a public health approach.


Keywords: Cultural Context of Health, Food and Nutrition, Health Professionals, Globalization
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , Cultural Model of International Public Health Practice, A


Elizabeth Elliott Cooper

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology
College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida

Tampa, FL, USA

Elizabeth Cooper has an MPH in global health practice from the University of South Florida and is currently working toward a Ph.D. in applied anthropology at USF, specializing in nutritional policy and gendered development. She has served as the USF campus coordinator of the FAO World Food Day Teleconference for two years, is a 2007-2008 Fulbright grantee to Malaysia, and has recently published an article in Ecology of Food and Nutrition addressing post-migratory dietary delocalization. Her on-going dissertation research is focused on the Malaysian national food supplementation program, Program Pemulihan Kanak-Kanak Kekuranga Zat Makanan (PPKZM) and differential perceptions of the program’s benefits.

Ref: S08P0164