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Ann Hum Biol. 2006 Sep-Dec;33(5-6):604-19.

Body size and growth: the significance of chronic malnutrition among the Casiguran Agta.

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1
Department of Biological Anthropology, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. rosouza@yahoo.com

Abstract

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE:

The Agta are a short statured, hunter-gatherer population who have been living under demographic and environmental stress. This article shows the influence of these factors and the resulting nutritional deficiency on the anthropometric measurements and mortality of Agta individuals.

RESEARCH DESIGN:

The joint analysis of cross-sectional measurements of Agta children and adults and of the mortality schedules in this population aims to stress the influence of environmental pressures on the ongoing evolution of short stature.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

Recumbent length, height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference, and triceps skinfolds were taken using standard methods from a total of 253 Agta individuals. Exact or nearly exact ages were taken from a long-term demographic database. z-Scores and growth curves were calculated using the NutStat program and 2000 CDC reference. Mortality schedules are from published material, improved through interviews in the field.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS:

Agta individuals are both short and thin when compared to other populations. Thirty-four per cent of the adults are under-nourished, while 17% of the children are wasted, according to international standards. A major and delayed peak of mortality in early infancy overlaps with a period of average decrease in body length in relation to the reference.

CONCLUSION:

Demographic indicators of poor health-related quality of life are consistent with slowed patterns of growth observed, stressing the importance of environmental pressure in maintaining the short stature of the Agta population.

PMID:
17381058
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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