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Econ Hum Biol. 2013 Mar;11(2):227-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Adult obesity: panel study from native Amazonians.

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Heller School, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


This paper examines three morphological indicators measuring obesity among a native Amazonian population of foragers-farmers in Bolivia (Tsimane') and estimates the associations between them and standard covariates of obesity (e.g., socioeconomic status [SES]). We collected annual data from 350 non-pregnant women and 385 men ≥20 years of age from all 311 households in 13 villages during five consecutive years (2002-2006). We used three indicators to measure obesity: body-mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and body fat using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BF-BIA). We ran separate individual random-effect panel multiple regressions for women and men with wealth, acculturation, health, and household food availability as key covariates, and controlled for village and year fixed effects and village×year interaction effects. Although BMI increases by a statistically significant annual growth rate of 0.64% among women and 0.37% among men over the five years, the increase does not yield significant biological meanings. Neither do we find consistent and biologically meaningful covariates associated with adult obesity.

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