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

e 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.


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

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