Directions: The article below is composed of eight paragraphs. After you have read an individual paragraph, summarize what you have read. Then, click on the link to check your summary of the paragraph. When you have finished all eight paragraphs, formulate your own thesis. Then, click on the link next to the word thesis to check if you are correct.

KWASHIORKOR

by Timothy Bell

In October 1949 the United Nations brought a number of specialists on food to Geneva, to discuss the problems of eating habits and food supplies of peoples throughout the world.One problem that particularly interested the specialists was a form of illness among the children in Africa and Latin America.The World Health Organization planned to study this disease to determine the relationship between the eating habits of the people and the disease. Two doctors were chosen to make the study.They flew to Africa south of the Sahara and during the next two months visited ten countries.They found that serious disease of poor eating, often mistaken for other diseases, existed in all parts of Africa.The diseases were similar and could, therefore, all be named kwashiorkor. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

The doctors reasoned that kwashiorkor was found in the young children of this age in many parts of Africa because of lack of milk or meat.Their mothers, after stopping their breast-feeding, gave them foods full of starches instead of greatly needed proteins.They found that the addition of milk to the food of children suffering from kwashiorkor saved may lives. It is necessary that the children of Africa be helped to eat better.The doctors suggested that the, production of foods rich in protein be increased. They thought that more fish should be caught and more nuts should be grown.They urged education plans to teach mothers better ways of feeding children.††Finally, they recommended closer study of all the special problems connected with kwashiorkor. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

The unbelievable thing about kwashiorkor is that the very existence of the disease which has been killing thousands of children for centuries Ė was not even recognized in Latin America as recently as ten years ago.The deaths of those children were mistakenly listed as due to other diseases.It was the World Health Organizationís work in Africa that led to the discovery of the problem in Central America. When Central American doctors read the reports from Africa that kwashiorkor was caused by not having enough protein, they began to search for this hidden killer of children in their own area.This was made more difficult because in Central America the records concerning a manís death and its causes cannot be depended upon.Doctors are not made to fill in forms stating their exact opinion.Instead, the untrained people employed for this work merely record the cause of death given by the dead personís family, which is not always correct. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

For nine months a study steam of health workers visited the family of every child who had died in certain mountain villages.They learned that two-thirds of all children between the ages of one and five really died of kwashiorkor.During the entire nine months, however, not one death was recorded officially as being caused by poor food, although recorders admitted that parents had described all the signs of kwashiorkor in the dying child. One of the saddest discoveries made was that parents took away any food containing protein from a sick child and instead fed him starchy soups made of rice and sugar.As a result of this treatment, the child with kwashiorkor usually died without even reaching the hospital. Those children who escaped death were often not normal.The development of the mind might be slowed.Body growth was stopped.Some people argue that children of poor countries are short because their parents are short, but the studies have proved this to be false.Their parents are short because they, too, did not have enough protein.The studies showed that children in Central America grow as rapidly as children in the United States until the second part of their first year, as long as they take motherís milk.During their school years, they gain in weight and bone development at a rate comparable to that of children in the United States.But by this time, they are several years behind in size, since they did not grow well during the years between the time they were babies and the time they went to school. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

Studies were made to determine what foods children ate during the period of delayed growth.It was found that the food of poorer families of the cities and of those families who lived in the country consisted mainly of corn and beans.Other studies showed that neither the corn not the beans had the needed food value.It was found also that children, while taking motherís milk, were seldom given any other foods.When they were no longer taking motherís milk, they ate food low in proteins.In a special study of one-year-olds in a town in Costa Rica, it was found that one child in three had never tasted fruit or fruit juice.Fewer than half of the one-year-olds had tasted milk after stopping motherís milk.Only one in five had ever eaten an egg, and only one in a hundred, meat.They also had no yellow and green vegetables.Corn and beans were what the children ate, and these either slowed their growth or killed them. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

For a limited time only, milk powder is the answer to the problem of supplying proteins to cure kwashiorkor in Central America.But what is really needed is a product that has many proteins, is cheap, tastes good, and does not offend the eating habits of the people.The Guatemala health department set out to make such a good.†††††† In the laboratories the young scientists tried out many protein-filled mixtures.They finally settled on one they called INCAP 8.It was made entirely of vegetables common to Central America.They fed it first to animals, with good results.They then ate it themselves and finally gave it to a badly diseased child at the hospital.For three weeks the boy ate nothing but INCAP 8.His swollen stomach went down; his eyes brightened; he became lively once more; the dying boy became healthy. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

A series of such successes made the nutrition specialists believe that INCAP 8 was just what they needed.Though animal proteins are generally thought to be better than vegetable proteins, the all-vegetable mixture was of such good quality that it was not improved by the addition of milk.INCAP 8 can probably be made in Central America at about half the cost of getting powdered milk.INCAP 8 can be served as a drink, a thick soup, or as an after-dinner sweet; it can also be added to the usual food of the country.It can even be eaten dry. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

Before INCAP 8 can be made in large amounts at a price that everyone can afford, answers to many problems must be found.One of these is that of the amino acids.Among the many amino acids that have been discovered since work began in this field over a century ago, only eight seem to be needed by human beings.All of these amino acids must be present at the same time and in certain amounts if the protein is to serve the body as it should.But what are the correct amounts of amino acids?No one yet knows but studies are being made in order to find the correct balance. Check Your Summary of the Paragraph

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