Effects of Agroclimatic Seasonality on Time Allocation and Energy Expenditure

The second important consequence of agroclimatic seasonality is the concentration of agricultural practices at certain times of the year. More time has to be devoted to often intense efforts, sometimes regardless of the actual physical capacity to perform them. Thus, although adult males are primarily involved, women and even pregnant women also have to spend more time in the field.

The increase in energy expenditure reported by different studies during the peak agricultural season amounts to 320-1050 kcal day"1. In Mali, during the rainy season the energy expenditure from agricultural work is double that during harvest and triple that in the dry season, although the difference is smaller for women.

As a result of the increased demands on time for agricultural labor, time spent on activities is reallocated. Northeastern Thai men spend 2h less resting and 1.5 h less in domestic work than in other seasons. Women not only spend less time sleeping and in leisure, but they also spend less time cooking, carrying out household tasks such as cleaning, collecting food and water, caring for the children, or carrying out income-generating activities such as handicrafts. The reallocation of women's time may have important consequences for their own health and well being and for the health of all the household members needing care. (Figure 3). Where possible, such household tasks may be reallocated to older children. In adolescent girls in Senegal the total energy expenditure measured by accelerometer was 5% higher in the rainy than in the dry season (100kcal difference). In the rainy season the girls spent 1.5 h more on vigorous activities and more time in domestic activities.

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