Salud Pública de México
Print version ISSN 0036-3634
VEGA-FRANCO, Leopoldo. Conceptual landmarks in the history of protein-energy malnutrition. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1999, vol.41, n.4, pp. 328-333. ISSN 0036-3634. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0036-36341999000400011.
Although the biblical horsemen of hunger, plague and war have proverbially ridden together, the consequences of these adversities, i.e. malnutrition and death, may have been secularly interpreted as natural as life itself. This may be the reason why the first clinical description of what is now known as protein-energy malnutrition, did not appear until the 19th century, in 1865 to be precise. The limited dissemination of this finding, originally written in Spanish, brought about a rediscovery and successful description of the disease in English in 1933. In 1949, one year after their creation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) decided to unify their diagnostic criteria of malnutrition, and endorse further research. The present assay describes some of the major conceptual landmarks in the history of the scientific knowledge of this disease.
Keywords : malnutrition; chronic hunger; hystory/malnutrition.