This article was presented at the 2008 AAPA meeting in a symposium in honor of A. Roberto Frisancho, on the occasion of his retirement from the Department of Anthropology of the University of Michigan.
Original Research Article
Reduced fat oxidation and obesity risks among the Buryat of Southern Siberia†
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2009
Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Special Issue: Special Section: Symposium in Honor of A. Roberto Frisancho
Volume 21, Issue 5, pages 664–670, September/October 2009
How to Cite
Leonard, W. R., Sorensen, M. V., Mosher, M.J., Spitsyn, V. and Comuzzie, A. G. (2009), Reduced fat oxidation and obesity risks among the Buryat of Southern Siberia. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 21: 664–670. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20903
- Issue published online: 3 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 23 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Received: 22 NOV 2008
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Grant Number: OGP-0116785
- National Geographic Society. Grant Number: 5829-96
- National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: 1 C06 RR017515
Over the last 20 years, obesity and associated metabolic diseases have emerged as major global health problems. Among urbanizing populations of developing regions of the world, childhood undernutrition often coexists with adult overnutrition, a phenomenon known as the “dual nutritional burden”. A recent work (Frisancho 2003: Am J Hum Biol 15:522–532) suggests that linear growth stunting in early childhood may contribute to adult obesity by reducing the body's ability to oxidize fat. We test central aspects of this model drawing on data from 112 adult Buryat herders (53 males; 59 females) from Southern Siberia. The results are consistent with the predictions of the model, but only for women. Shorter Buryat women (height-for-age Z-scores ≤ −1) have significantly lower fasting fat oxidation levels compared to their taller counterparts. Shorter women are also significantly heavier and fatter, and have higher serum lipid levels. Among all Buryat women, reduced fat oxidation is significantly correlated with percent body fatness, serum triglyceride levels, and serum leptin levels, after controlling for relevant covariates. Additionally, Buryat women with high dietary fat intakes and low fat oxidation are significantly fatter and have higher lipid and leptin levels than those with low fat intakes and high fat oxidation. These results suggest that developmental changes in fat oxidation may play a role in the origins of obesity among populations with high rates of linear growth stunting. Further longitudinal research is necessary to elucidate the pathways through which early-life undernutrition may increase risks for adulthood obesity and cardiovascular disease. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.