Effects of a Mixed-Subsistence Diet on the Growth of Hadza Children

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American Journal of Human Biology

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Introduction: We investigated the preliminary effects of dietary changes onthe anthropometric measurements of child and adolescent Hadza foragers.Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study comparing height and weightof participants (aged 0-17 years) at two time points, 2005 (n = 195) and 2017(n = 52), from two locations: semi-nomadic “bush camps” and sedentary“village camps”. World Health Organization (WHO) calculators were used togenerate standardized z-scores for weight-for-height (WHZ), weight-for-age(WAZ), height-for-age (HAZ), and BMI-for-age (BMIFAZ). Cross tabulationswere constructed for each measurement variable as a function of z-score cate-gories and the variables year, location, and sex.Results: Residency in a village, and associated mixed-subsistence diet, wasassociated with favorable growth, including greater WAZ (P < .001), HAZ(P < .001), and BMIFAZ (P = .004), but not WHZ (P = .717). Regardless of res-idency location, participants showed an improved WAZ (P = .021) and HAZ(P < .001) in the 2017 study year. We found no sex differences.Discussion and Conclusion: These preliminary findings suggest that amixed-subsistence diet may confer advantages over an exclusive wild food diet,a trend also reported among other transitioning foragers.


Anthropology | Biological and Physical Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences



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