How deforestation can increase anemia in children on the Amazon amazon

The world’s largest study on wildlife meat consumption and anemia in children aged 6 months to 5 years indicates that Meat is a staple of Brazilian diet in childhood Those who live in rural areas of the Amazon.

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The study, conducted by researchers at the British Lancaster University, the University of S সাo Paulo (USP), the Oswaldo Cruise Foundation (Fiocruz) and the University of Para, has already been revised and recently published by Scientific Report (from the Nature Group). A paradox: Progress of deforestation in the Amazon rainforestDriven by the creation of pastures for cattle, Reduces supply of shrub meat for indigenous, riverine and traditional communities Amazon, a socially vulnerable group.

With the advancement of pasture, however, the possibility of beef reaching the plates of this population remains remote. Children in this region suffer from anemia due to lack of meat.

“It should be made clear that people in rural Amazon virtually never eat beef. On average, these families eat steak once every two months. Therefore, beef does not support the food and nutrition security of these children,” said sociologist Luke Parry Lancaster. University.

Children play in the river while women wash clothes in Jutai (AM) – Photo: Maria Gabriela Fink / Published by BBC

The 2021 Mitt Atlas, developed by the German Henrik Bowl Foundation and dedicated to tracking environmental factors, indicates that 63% of the Amazon rainforest has been converted into cattle grazing. But the meat produced there is not eaten locally.

One of the reasons why the presence of beef fillets on the river table is so rare is not only the price of meat, which is high for the average household income in the region, but also the lack of electricity and living conditions. And preserve highly perishable food. Eating chicken is also unusual.

On the other hand, when Brazil broke the record of deforestation – with more than 13,000 km of deforestation last year alone (the largest loss since 2006) – multiple studies have already shown how the fauna is severely affected by the destruction of its habitat.

Not only do many animals die in the moment of burning or deforestation, but hunters also lose their best food source, the species fails to find a place to mate, and the animals become more exposed and vulnerable, leading to a significant decline in hunting specimens over time.

“In the Amazon, the population reports it. When the environment deteriorates, the meat of animals that are very valuable, such as tapir or pekari, quickly disappear from the area. Patricia Carrigano Torres, a researcher from USP, is one of the authors of the study.

Extreme events such as severe droughts or unusual floods that have hit the Amazon region in recent years have exacerbated environmental imbalances in areas already degraded by human action.

“Climate change and deforestation increase the risk for children, who have good reason to feel that they are already facing food insecurity and malnutrition today,” Parry said.

According to a projection made by researchers, A significant loss in the supply of herb meat found in the region today would increase the rate of childhood anemia there by 10%.. This means that in the Amazonas state alone, 3,700 rural children will suffer from anemia.

In rural Amazonia, six out of ten children have anemia. In Brazil, one in ten

The researchers visited 1,100 randomly selected families in four municipalities of Amazonas, the longest of which was more than 2,000 kilometers from the capital Manaus. In total, the researchers visited 58 Amazon villages, of which 44 were accessible only by boat.

To understand the role of Bushmat in human health, they cross-referenced the diet of the local population with the count of protein hemoglobin present in the blood of 610 children – the ideal indicator for diagnosing anemia.

During the study, only one drop of blood was taken from the child’s finger to check if the child was anemic within a few minutes. Nevertheless, for a large segment of the local population, testing – and results – was a great innovation, as healthcare in the region was uncertain.

Researchers have found that in Amazon cities, where average bushmet consumption is less than twice a month, this protein source seems to have very little effect on childhood health.

In rural and remote areas, where the average cost of game meat per family varies from 4 to 8 times a month, pacas, tappers, howler monkeys, turtles and pecans are essential for the growth and development of children.

Eating large amounts of fish in both groups showed no effect on the spread of blood diseases in children.

Anemia is a disease caused by a lack of iron in the body. And is characterized by low amounts of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin, which gives the blood its characteristic red color, is responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. If a baby’s blood does not supply the body with the amount of oxygen it needs, its organs and muscles will struggle to develop healthy. Cells seem to lack air to breathe and function – and that’s why some of the most common symptoms of this disease are fatigue, weakness, and paleness. Anemia is prevented by eating foods rich in iron (red meat, dark vegetables, eggs, lemons)..

Anemia, especially up to the age of 5, is usually a deficiency in physical and cognitive development. Among these people, what will transform into a learning disability at school age and affect until adulthood, depends on the quality of the person’s work and, therefore, on the jobs they will receive. Global research has pointed to the role of anemia in the cycle of poverty.: Children become anemic, low-income adults due to being in a weak family, repeating the process of forming a weak family, with children with anemia and much more “, Torres explains.

In this sense, although Bushmat represents some nutritional security for these children, the researchers noted that it was not a “silver bullet” to save Amazon’s childhood.

And they prove it with data: According to the Ministry of Health, in 2020, the nationally measured anemia rate among children aged 6 months to 5 years was 10%. That is, one in ten Brazilian children is infected during childhood. In rural Amazon areas visited by Torres, Paris and their colleagues, the rate jumped to 60%: for every ten children under the age of 5 in these locations, there were six anemias.

“Even today we do not know what micronutrients these wild animals contain. These children have been deprived of a series of vitamins and minerals. The problem is, as we can see from the number of anemic children.” , Says Torres.

Although the treatment of anemia is relatively simple – such as regular consumption of metal-rich iron capsules or flours – it is difficult for this population to access health professionals who can guide parents or guardians and ensure regularity of treatment. Supply free delivery.

During the study, researchers were often asked to examine people in the community who were not even part of the sample studied, but who saw the presence of professionals as a rare opportunity to obtain information about their health status.

Amazon has 1.1 doctors per thousand inhabitants, while southeastern Brazil has 2.8 doctors per thousand inhabitants. And there’s the disparity between the Amazon: in Manaus, there are 2.8 doctors per thousand inhabitants, compared to an average of 0.2 doctors per 50,000 inhabitants in an Amazon municipality.

Children’s health care is particularly irregular. The state of Amazonas covers 1.6 million km2 and has a population of 3.8 million, but only 344 pediatricians are located, mainly in the state capital.

“Due to the neglect of the river’s population, the region’s human development index is lower than Brazil’s and much more similar to Zambia’s,” said Luke Parry.

One of the most controversial aspects of Bushmat’s importance to the health of children in vulnerable families and forests is that hunting can also be devastating to the ecosystem on which this population depends for their livelihood.

It has been encountered not only in Amazon but also in Africa. Prior to Torres and Parry’s article, minor studies in Madagascar had already indicated that children under the age of 12 in a village on the island relied on Bushmit for protection against anemia. The same seems to be true of countries like Congo, Nigeria and Ecuador, although there is a lack of specific research.

At the same time, scientists have described what they call the “bushmet crisis” or “bushmet crisis” as a process of widespread hunting of species in West African countries and in the Congo river basin, representing the greatest threat to extinction today. Great primates, other species of apes, elephants and antelopes.

In Brazil, the crime of “killing, chasing, hunting or capturing” wildlife species – endemic or migratory – is endangered or not. Commercial, professional or sports hunting is prohibited, although enforcement is often inadequate.

Anyone caught, even with a single captive animal, can face imprisonment and fines ranging from 6 months to 1 year. Exceptions to the rule are hunters who receive special licenses from environmental organizations or temporary approval for hunting a specific species for population control – as in the recent case of wild boar / horsehorn in Sao Paulo.

The law further states that it is not a crime to kill an animal if the hunter is “in a state of need to satisfy the hunger of the agent or his family.” But the text has been criticized by environmentalists and sociologists because it does not define the protective parameters of scientific prey – when collected for animal studies – and live prey.

“Brazilian law is confusing and the livelihoods are stagnant. In reality, it is up to the agent during the inspection to determine what hunger is and what these families need and whether they are committing a crime,” Tower noted.

According to Parry, who has been researching the Amazon region for years, the population that relies heavily on prey for their well-being – those in rural and high-risk areas – are also less likely to be involved in predatory, widespread and destructive hunting. Lack of generalized management guidelines.

“In many areas, hunting is quite sustainable, especially in more remote areas, when we have fewer families and more forests nearby. The risk is higher,” said the British sociologist.

The data suggest that environmental protection is not enough to save species from extinction and from anemia in children.

“The Amazon needs sustainable economic development, which stabilizes forests while generating more income so that local people have access to better food and health practices,” Torres said.

In the meantime, however, he has made it clear that the Brazilian state should not criminalize those who seek food.

“Our results make it clear that not only for cultural and social reasons, but also because the welfare and development of these children depends on it, population access to Bushmat should not be restricted,” Torres said.

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