Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities
2007—2008 Forum on Origins
Health & Societies, Biological Basis of Behavior
Beliefs, Practices, and Sanitation of Food and Health in Santiago Atilan, Guatemala
This study aims at illuminating how the Tz’tujil Maya of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, associate food with health. Understanding the underlying beliefs that inform practices related to food preparation can lead to a fuller comprehension of the culture of the Tz’tujil Maya. Specific aims include infant malnutrition causes, breastfeeding beliefs and practices, drinking water, and Coca-Colonization, the phenomenon where nutrient-poor processed foods and drinks such as Coca Cola are introduced into people’s diets, leading to new health problems in the region. This study will investigate the Tz’tujil Mayan views of food and health through participant observation from March 2-11 and 50 semi-structured interviews in June through July, 2007.