This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
A new study has found that women in parts of western Africa need more energy than men because of the amount of work they do. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota carried out the study. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization helped in the study. Science Magazine published the results.
The study examined the amount of work done by men and women in Ivory Coast. All of the workers lived in the Northern Savane, West Forest, and East Forest areas of Ivory Coast.
Researchers followed more than three-thousand farm workers during a seven-day period. The researchers added the amount of time that the men and women spent working. They studied many kinds of activities, such as hunting, planting, food gathering, crop development, harvesting and land clearing.
James Levine (la-VEEN) from the Mayo Clinic led the study. He says the researchers found that the women in the study worked almost three hours more each day than the men did. The women did all the work in the house, such as cleaning and food preparation. The women also brought water and wood into the house for use in washing, cooking and heating. In addition, the women also did farm work. The men in the study only did farm work.
Doctor Levine said the women need thirty percent more energy to do their work. So they need thirty percent more nutrition than had been earlier thought. He says other studies have suggested that women are far more threatened by starvation than men are when crops fail.
Barbara Burlingame is a top nutrition officer for the U-N Food and Agriculture Organization. She says this study could be used as a model to decide the food aid needs of people in other countries. Through similar research, she says the U-N will be able to better understand the different nutritional needs of women around the world.
Currently, the U-N estimates that more than eight-hundred-million people around the world suffer from poor nutrition and a lack of food. Mizz Burlingame says this study will help the U-N and other aid organizations provide better economic and nutritional support to developing countries.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss.