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Soc Sci Med. 1984;18(7):581-7.

Rural development strategies and their health and nutrition-mediated effects on fertility: a review of the literature.


In this review of literature sources from several relevant disciplines, the author attempts to examine the support for theoretical linkages between rural development strategies, on the one hand, and the possible effects of these strategies on fertility rates. Nutrition and health status of women and children are interposed as intermediate effects. Development strategies are classified according to their objectives, whether to promote community participation, to increase agricultural production and productivity, to extend services to populations or, finally, to raise income. In terms of possible fertility outcomes, strategies emphasizing extension of services, especially health and nutrition services, are viewed as most effective. Community participation is essential but not sufficient for the process. Increasing agricultural production and productivity appears to depend for its effectiveness on how equitably benefits are distributed, whether food production is increased as part of the program, and whether health, nutrition and family planning are specific components. Raising income, finally, is effective only if food and services are equitably distributed.

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