Monday, February 6, 2017

Keep Going

It's no secret that Western culture is not exactly the most healthy of places. Sure, we have lots of stuff and lots of food, but our affluence has also brought lots of down time. Or sitting down time. On sofas, in cars, across La-z-Boys. And the result is not pretty.

Anthropologists have long suggested that lounging around and stuffing our faces is not exactly how we were evolutionarily brought up. 
Instead, the theory goes, humans are physically hunter-gatherers, people who have to run after game or wander about the landscape for tubers and so our bodies are supposed to be on the go.

This theory was recently underscored with the generous aid of hunter-gatherers themselves. Researchers from the University of Arizona and Yale University recruited Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania to wear heart monitors for two weeks as they went about their day. 

As the data show, the Hadza have great heart health at any age and, as expected, it's because the Hadza are always on the go. They aren't running and jumping but simply briskly active for more than two hours a day. 

Men follow game all day and women walk into the bush and dig vigorously and so their heart rates are up. 

As a result their blood pressure is down and their heart muscle exercised. 

The Hadza also lie around a lot, but that's the reward for finding food, not the normal position for eating it.

Of course, this is not rocket science, but it is one way anthropologists have added to the conversation about the rate of obesity in Western culture and our modern health crisis. We now live in a world where it's almost mandatory to drive to get food, drive it home, and eat it sitting in front of the T.V.

Funny, Western culture also has the highest rate of depression in the world. Hey anthropologists, anything to add about that?

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