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Cad Saude Publica. 2001 Mar-Apr;17(2):313-22.

[Human ecology and nutritional anthropometry of adult Xavánte Indians in Mato Grosso, Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Nutrição Social, Instituto de Nutrição, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20550-013, Brasil.


This study compares anthropometric and ecological profiles of two Xavánte indigenous communities in Mato Grosso, Central Brazil. The research describes time allocation patterns and involves an anthropometric survey (including body mass, stature, and BMI) in adults over 20 years of age. Data from Etéñitépa (also known as Pimentel Barbosa) were collected in 1994. Field work at São José was conducted in 1998 and 1999. Compared with the São José group, Xavánte in Etéñitépa do more subsistence activities like farming, fishing, hunting, and gathering. The São José Xavánte do more paid work and generally engage in less physical activity. Average stature in the two communities is similar, but there are major differences in mean body mass and BMI. The São José group has average BMI values well over those of the Etéñitépa group in practically all age brackets. Obesity prevalence rates were high in both men (24.6%) and women (41.3%) in São José, while in Etéñitépa the rates were only 2.5% and 4.8%, respectively. The authors conclude that the different nutritional profiles in the two communities result from specific patterns of social, political, and economic interactions with Brazilian society.

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