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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0864-3466On-line version ISSN 1561-3127


ZENA GIRALDO, Sandra; DIAZ BERNAL, Zoe; BACALLAO GALLESTEY, Jorge  and  SANTA MARIA, Rosario. Socioeconomic and sociocultural dynamics in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in Peruvian women from the rural areas. Rev Cubana Salud Pública [online]. 2018, vol.44, n.2, pp.344-359. ISSN 0864-3466.


The burning of solid fuels in traditional stoves, in rural homes in Peru, is an important source of exposure to toxins; however, women perceive it positively.


To characterize a rural community from a socioeconomic and sociocultural perspective to interpret the circumstances related to the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in women.


Qualitative research in 60 rural homes in La Esperanza, Ancash, Peru, in which traditional stoves were used and whose housewives had a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms. To describe the environmental quality of the kitchen, carbon monoxide was measured, and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms was investigated with the participants, and forced vital capacity tests were performed. The hygienic-sanitary conditions of the dwellings were evaluated through a guide and focus groups were organized to collect information about the perceptions of the women.


Due to the polluting conditions and daily practices, the kitchen was an area of ​​high vulnerability for respiratory health. A low perception of the health risk associated with the use of traditional kitchens was revealed. The persistence of respiratory symptoms was considered as something natural.


What women believe about their respiratory symptoms is fundamental to their usual way of acting. In this sense, the findings contribute to guiding the implementation of new strategies for the prevention of respiratory symptoms, in order to modify some of the socioeconomic and sociocultural circumstances that condition them.

Keywords : Environmental health; living conditions; culture and women's health; perceptions.

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