Functional Consequences

The size of the nutritional impact is dependent on the magnitude of the seasonal stress and on the baseline nutritional status, as this sets the limit of the tolerable stress. Lean people will lose more fat-free mass than fatter people. At a BMI of 21, 50% of the weight lost is lean tissue. Therefore, in populations with a lower mean BMI there is a greater impact on their fat-free mass, with greater consequences for their productivity and fitness. A meta-analysis of the body weight change/body weight relationship indicates that farmers tend to maintain the loss at below 2% of their fat-free mass; people with lower BMI will lose less weight, but they will also have to limit their physical activity, which can have socioeconomic consequences. In some populations, body weight lost

Figure 4 Range of body weight changes between lean and good seasons documented among adult men and women in different countries. Legend of countries: Ba = Bangladesh; Be = Benin; BF = Burkina Faso; Bo = Botswana; Bu = Burma; C = Cameroon; Cd = Cameroon during drought; E = Ethiopia; G = Gambia; K = Kenya; I = India; M = Mali; N = Niger; P = Papua; S = Senegal; T = Thailand; Z = Zaire. References in Ferro-Luzzi A, Branca F, and Pastore G (1994) Body mass index defines the risk of seasonal energy stress in the Third World. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 48(supplement 3): S165-S178. Additional references: Adams AM (1995) Seasonal variations in energy balance among agriculturalists in central Mali: compromise or adaptation? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 49: 809-823; Ategbo E-AD, van Raaij JMA, de Koning FLHA, and Hautvast JGAJ (1995) Resting metabolic rate and work efficiency of rural Beninese women: a 2-y longitudinal study American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 61: 466-472; Murayama N and Ohtsuka R (1999) Seasonal fluctuation in energy balance among farmers in Northeast Thailan: the lack of response of energy intake to the change of energy expenditure European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53: 39-49.

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