For most readers of this encyclopedia, the notion of urban living and life style would be considered the demographic norm or a 'ground state.' In fact, the history of human biological and cultural evolution was written in rural areas. Currently, 53% of the population of developing countries is still living in the rural countryside as agrarian peasants or hunters; this proportion has fallen rapidly from 83% in 1950. The context for the topic of urban nutrition includes: the manner in which wealth and income are distributed among the urban populations; the agricultural efforts within and without the cities to supply food to the urban masses; trends and fashions in marketing and consumption of foods; and the ecological and environmental influences generated in the agrarian countryside and in the urbs themselves.

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