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Inequality during the nutritional transition: Hospital diets in Mediterranean Spain (Valencia, 1853-1923)

Francisco J. Medina-Albaladejo () and Salvador Calatayud ()
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Francisco J. Medina-Albaladejo: Universidad de Valencia, Spain
Salvador Calatayud: Universidad de Valencia, Spain

No 1909, Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) from Asociación Española de Historia Económica

Abstract: Unequal access to food is one of the main issues in nutritional history, but scarcity of sources has hampered the quantification of this phenomenon. This work proposes using hospital diets to address this gap. We have used records from 1853 to 1923 concerning hospital diets in the psychiatric section of the Hospital General de Valencia (Spain) and we have inferred the actual intake of nutrients for six groups of patients and members of staff. The results reveal considerable differences in terms of diet and nutrition. While the most-favoured group (nuns and well-off patients) had by 1853 reduced their relative intake of cereals and increased that of meat, in line with the general trend of the nutritional transition, the poor and orphans were still behind the trend by 1923. On the other hand, hospital staff were on a high-calorie diet that was adequate for undertaking heavy tasks, yet still suffered from a significant deficit in nutrient intake. These inequalities indicate that the nutritional transition was an uneven and non-linear process, with substantial differences according to social groups.

Keywords: Nutritional Transition; Inequality; Hospital Diets; Nutrient Intake; Spain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N33 N34 I12 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-hea and nep-his
Date: 2019-05
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