The Turrialba, Costa Rica, Community Development Project was initiated in 1947 with studies of economic and social structure. 140 families were selected from the rural population for health and dietary studies during 1948–51. This sample included the major economic, leadership and geographical groups on a proportionate basis and was composed of 940 individuals. This group was also used in 1951 for detailed clinical, dental, fluoroscopic, parasitological and blood vitamin and protein studies. The major public health problems included dietary deficiency of vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium and animal protein; very high incidence of multiple intestinal parasitism; unsatisfactory drinking water, sanitary and bathing facilities; poor infant feeding practices and general ignorance of the basic principles of hygiene and nutrition.
The Turrialba Rural Community development study is being continued, and efforts are being made to improve the integration of all agencies concerned with the project; to secure increased participation of local people in program formulation; and to adapt or develop simple and economical methods of health education and service to reach the entire population. These measures are considered essential for the lasting success of national or international efforts to improve public health on a community or regional basis.