Adult obesity: Panel study from native Amazonians

Wu Zeng, Dan T.A. Eisenberg, Karla Rubio Jovel, Eduardo A. Undurraga, Colleen Nyberg, Susan Tanner, Victoria Reyes-García, William R. Leonard, Juliana Castaño, Tomás Huanca, Thomas W. McDade, Ricardo Godoy

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14 Citations (Scopus)


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. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • BMI
  • Bolivia
  • Overweight
  • Tsimane' Amazonian Panel Study (TAPS)


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