Dr. Urlacher knew that young Schwarz was different from most Western children in many ways, including genetics, which he interpreted as difficult to interpret. But he was aware of a relatively large group of children who passed through only a long stretch of canoe, from the Schwar family, who had moved to a nearby market town. Their children regularly went to school, ate food, but stayed in the shower.
For the latest study, published in The Journal of Nutrition in January, he and his colleagues received permission from Shuar families in rural, relatively urban, to accurately measure the body composition of their 77 children, energy expenditures between the ages of 4 and 12, while tracking their activities. by speedometers և collecting data on what they eat.
Urban Shuar children have proven to be significantly heavier than their rural peers. By the standards of the World Health Organization, about a third prevailed. None of the village children were there. Urban children were also usually more sedentary. But all the children, rural or urban, active or not, burned about the same amount of calories every day.
They differed the most from their diets. The children of the market town ate much more meat and dairy products than the children of the countryside, such as fresh starch, such as white rice, and highly processed foods, such as sweets. In general, they ate more and more in a modern way than the village children; it was this diet, concluded by Dr. Urlacher և and his colleagues, that contributed most to their high weight.
These discoveries should not romanticize the life of the feeder or hunter-gatherer, warns Dr. Urlacher. Rural, traditional Shuar children are prone to frequent parasitic infections, such as stunted growth, largely because their bodies seem to shift available calories to other vital functions; they do not grow far.
But the results show that the more children eat, the more they affect their body weight than the more they move, he says, an idea that should begin to guide any effort to combat childhood obesity.
“Ex exercises are still very important for children for all kinds of reasons,” says Dr. Urlacher. “But maintaining physical activity may not be enough to overcome childhood obesity.”