Publications in English

In this area you will find academic journal publications or magazine articles that I've either written independently or in collaboration with other scientists.

Improving Nutrition Knowledge and Feeding Practices among Rural Women in Guatemala

Abstract & Authors

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Claudia Asensio, DrPH

Available upon request 

The impact of heat and impaired kidney function on productivity of Guatemalan sugarcane workers

Abstract & Authors

Background Climate change has implications for human health and productivity. Models suggest that heat extremes affect worker health, reduce labor capacity, and commodity supply. Chronic health conditions are on the rise internationally. However there is a paucity of direct empirical evidence relating increasing temperatures to both agricultural worker health and productivity. Methods and findings We evaluated the relationship between temperature exposure, kidney function, and two measures of productivity—tons of commodity produced and job attrition, of 4,095 Guatemalan sugarcane cutters over a 6-month harvest. We used distributed lag non-linear models to evaluate associations between wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) and productivity of workers with normal or impaired kidney function. The cumulative effect of exposure to a max WBGT of 34°C was 1.16 tons (95% CI: -2.87, 0.54) less sugarcane cut over the next five days by workers with impaired kidney function, compared to exposure to 29°C. Impaired kidney function was associated with premature workforce attrition. Workers starting the harvest season with impaired kidney function were more than twice as likely to leave employment (HR: 2.92, 95% CI: 1.88, 4.32). Conclusions Heat extremes may be associated with loss of agricultural worker productivity and employment, especially among those with impaired kidney function. Agricultural workers who develop health conditions, such as kidney disease, are particularly vulnerable in the face of climate change and increasing heat extremes. The resultant loss of employment and productivity has significant implications for global commodity supplies.

Miranda Dally, Jaime Butler-Dawson, Lyndsay Krisher, Andrew Monaghan, David Weitzenkamp, Cecilia Sorensen, Richard J. Johnson, Elizabeth J. Carlton, Claudia Asensio, Liliana Tenney, Lee S. Newman

Available from:

Risk Factors for Declines in Kidney Function in Sugarcane Workers in Guatemala

Abstract & Authors

Objectives: To characterize kidney function of sugarcane workers in Guatemala over the 6-month harvest and identify risk factors associated with changes in kidney function. Methods: Demographic and biological data were collected for 330 sugarcane cutters at the beginning and end of the harvest. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess factors related to kidney function. Results: A decline in kidney function across the harvest was observed in 36% of the participants. Risk factors associated with this decline included working at a particular plantation mill, local area workers compared with highland workers, and current smokers. Conclusion: Results showed both occupational and behavioral factors play significant roles in declines in kidney function. These results underline the need for a comprehensive approach to the epidemic as well as further investigation of risk factors to guide research and interventions.

Jaime Butler-Dawson, PhD, Lyndsay Krisher, MPH, Claudia Asensio, DrPH, Alex Cruz, MD, Liliana Tenney, MPH, David Weitzenkamp, PhD, Miranda Dally, MS,

Edwin J. Asturias, MD, and Lee S. Newman, MD

Available from:[accessed Oct 16 2018].