Re: Any thoughts?

Lawrence S. Sugiyama (6500sug@UCSBUXA.UCSB.EDU)
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 16:23:45 -0700

A similar argument has been advanced re obesity in Americans.
Abiltity to gorge, taste for fatty foods, store exess energy in fat and use
it in
times of dietary stress, are implicated in the obesity problems that
plague many in the
US where evolutionarily unprecedented high fat diet is available in
conjunction with unprecedented sedentarism.

On Fri, 26 Jul 1996, Chuck Coker

> Joyce Lucke wrote:
> > It seems that our
> > geographer lectured on how southern African Bushman have enlarged buttocks
> > so they can store water like camels for travelling across the desolate
> > landscape.
> I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have *heard* (no *proof* one way
> or the other) that the Tohono O'odham (aka Papago) people in southern Arizona,
> United States, have an extreme obesity problem due to biological adaptation.
> For those of you that have never seen southern Arizona, it is the northern
> end of the Sonoran Desert that extends up from Sonora, Mexico. It is a
> pretty desolate place.
> The story goes, as I heard it from a Professor who did her PhD work among
> the Tohono O'odham (on a different subject), that they have adapted over
> the years to store fat efficiently due to the scarce food resources. That
> makes sense to me given the location they've been in for thousands of years.
> Since about the time of World War II, good nutrition and plenty of food have
> been available to them all year round, but they still have the genetic makeup
> that allows them to store fat, thus the obesity problem. However, I believe
> the fat is distributed all over the body, not just in one area.
> I haven't had much personal contact with the Tohona O'odham, but judging from
> the people I know or have seen, it could be possible.
> I've spent a lot of time with the Hualapai, a couple of hours north, on the
> south rim of Grand Canyon--I lived on the reservation until about two months
> ago. There is an obesity problem there, too, but not to the same extent, and
> speculation says more or less the same thing.
> I am not familiar with African peoples, but I don't see why *some* kind of
> adaptation to the environment would not have taken place. For example, the
> sickle-cell gene was adaptive at one time. Other people in other places have
> adapted biologically to their environments, too, e.g. skin color, nose shape,
> tall and thin vs. short and stocky, are all visually obvious features, and I'm
> sure there must be others that are no so visible.
> Chuck Coker
> CJCoker@Cris.Com