Navigation Links
UCSB anthropologists study effects of modernization on physical activity and heart disease
Date:2/1/2013

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, and a sedentary lifestyle is often cited as a major contributing factor. Among the Tsimane, an indigenous population in the lowlands of Bolivia's Amazon basin, however, indicators of heart disease are practically non-existent cholesterol is low, obesity is rare, and smoking is uncommon.

That's according to researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the University of New Mexico, who have been studying hunter-gatherers and forager-horticulturists to understand how their physical activity levels are affected by modernization; whether that, in turn, has increased the incidence of obesity, hypertension, and other conditions related to heart disease; and how their findings might apply to adults in the U.S. Their research is highlighted in an article published today in the journal PLoS ONE.

The simple answer, according to Michael Gurven, professor of anthropology at UCSB and lead author of the study, is that physical activity alone or lack thereof does not relate to obesity or body fat among the Tsimane, and despite a subsistence lifestyle, activity alone is unlikely to account for their relative absence of chronic disease. As Gurven noted, the research demonstrates that, although a high level of physical activity may be important in staving off heart disease and diabetes, it's unlikely to be the "magic bullet" that explains why a group like the Tsimane maintains a healthy chronic disease profile.

"Indigenous populations like the Tsimane are very physically active," said Gurven, who is also director of UCSB's Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit and the Broom Demography Center's Biodemography and Evolution Unit. "There are people who think physical activity alone is enough to have a healthy heart. They assumed the Tsimane activity level was equal to running a marathon every day. But we did the analysis, and they aren't."

By measuring the physical activity level (PAL) of individual Tsimane men and women over 24-hour periods using a combination of spot observations and accelerometers, combined with heart rate monitors, Gurven and his team found is that while the Tsimane are, indeed, physically active more so than average Americans their PAL is not so great that it separates them from that of developed populations. "We found that while the Tsimane are more active than we are, there's a decent amount of overlap," he said. "Tsimane are not more vigorously active than athletic Americans with a high activity level. In fact, Tsimane do not spend much time in 'vigorous' activity, but instead spend a lot of time in light to moderate activity. Rather than characterizing the Tsimane as vigorously active, I'd more safely say they are not sedentary."

The researchers also examined issues related to obesity and body mass index (BMI). "One idea is that we're less active than we used to be, so we get heavier," Gurven explained. "But that's actually kind of controversial. The heavier you get, the more weight you have to move around. So even though you may be less active, you could be expending more energy. There's plenty of data that even when people are experimentally manipulated to increase their activity levels, after a three month period, their weight doesn't shift all that much. Or it shifts and goes back again."

That might be due to increased appetite and subsequent excess food intake, Gurven suggested. "Depending on your hunger levels, you might be eating more than the increase in your activity can accommodate, so you end up gaining weight. When we looked at people's BMI and levels of physical activity, we found no relationship. People with higher BMI's weren't less active than people with low BMI's."

That finding, he said, is consistent with the idea that it's not physical activity, but excess food intake that is more responsible for the "obesity epidemic" of the last several decades.

Another important finding is that physical activity does not appear to correlate with modernization, as measured by village distance to town, Spanish fluency, and formal schooling. This pattern contradicts robust findings in other areas of the world, where even short periods of socioeconomic change can radically alter activity patterns and diet, and, therefore, subsequent risk of chronic disease. "And that's not particularly surprising," he said. "Even Tsimane in the most acculturated villages, who speak Spanish and have wage labor jobs, continue to work fields, and they still fish. In addition, most jobs themselves are labor-intensive logging, working as ranch hands, or transporting resources from one place to another. "It's all physically active work," he said. "Modernization hasn't changed that."

However, women do not typically participate in these labor intensive jobs, and so while modernization didn't affect their activity levels, modern Tsimane women were more likely to be overweight. "Tsimane men are more physically active than women at all ages, and less likely to be overweight; and so the few cases of hypertension and other ailments characteristic of cardiovascular disease are observed more among Tsimane women than men a striking contrast with what is commonly observed in the U.S.," Gurven concluded.


'/>"/>
Contact: Andrea Estrada
andrea.estrada@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-4620
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Program to Spot Painkiller ODs Saves Lives: Study
2. Drug Users Are Super-Spreaders of Hepatitis C, Study Finds
3. Blacks Less Likely to Receive Kidney Transplant Early On, Study Finds
4. Sunshine Might Help Love Bloom, Study Suggests
5. Glazer receives grant to study light-activated cancer drugs
6. Study finds hormones can change the breasts genetic material
7. Texting Doesnt Replace the Feel-Good Effects of Talking, Study Says
8. Study Shows Weight-Loss Myths Abound
9. Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatments Similar in Long Run: Study
10. People Can Emit Flu Germs in Air Up to 6 Feet Away, Study Finds
11. Epilepsy Drug in Pregnancy Linked to Autism Risk in Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UCSB anthropologists study effects of modernization on physical activity and heart disease
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... As health professionals work to improve ... engagement.” The patient is doing more than filling out a survey; in many cases ... an increasing emphasis in health care and research on the importance of active engagement ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Nevada (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... Hemp CBD Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil ... required and providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... OBISPO, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... or dementia. However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if ... the 90-day elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of Yahweh, has released a ... books in the Holy Scriptures, Revelation. The Book of Revelation paints a picture of ... have tossed it off as mere rubbish, but Yisrayl Hawkins says that is because ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history ... The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and ... WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading global digital ... its MyDario product is expected to appear on The Dr. Oz Show ... Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. Oz Show kicked off ... The segment features ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... -- Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) announced today that it ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Biologics License ... of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The ... to further evaluate the safety of sirukumab in the ... "We are disappointed by ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... , Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing ... of targeted tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: