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J Trop Med Hyg. 1980 Apr;83(2):53-69.

Housing and health in the process of cultural adaptation: a case study among jungle and highland natives of Ecuador.


A household survey was undertaken among four Indian groups in Ecuador. Family housing conditions were related to dwelling development (from traditional to modern type) in data obtained from 727 family interviews. Measurements of the physical characteristics of the shelter completed the study. It is shown that: 1. The protection against the elements (temperature and humidity) is best in traditional houses and becomes worse with development; 2. The floor area per person is the highest in the traditional and the lowest in the modern houses; 3. Development does not mean improvement of domestic equipment; 4. New construction materials have many disadvantages when compared with traditional ones; 5. The more intensely a person is exposed to cross cultural influence the more likely he is to build a modern house. The findings are used to develop the argument that housing related health education should be adapted to the environment and the culture of the local population.

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