Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Health | Opinion
Stone Age Doc: Modern diet hurts Pima people


"The Pima tribe is working with U.S. Public Health Service scientists hoping to learn why this population is not only the most obese on the planet but has a rate of type 2 diabetes that is six times as high as that for Americans of European ancestry.

Luckily for the researchers the Pimas consist of two populations that are genetically identical but diverse in lifestyle. Nearly 2,000 years ago some members of the original tribe left the mountains of central Mexico and settled in the area that now includes the southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico.

Except for their genetic similarity the differences between the groups are profound. Most Mexican Pimas are farmers with almost no mechanized equipment and few labor-saving devices. They spend 22 hours per week in moderate physical activity. A lack of modern plumbing forces them to walk to their sources of water and to carry it back home. Their fat intake is minimal and they grow their own food.

The Mexican Pimas have very low rates of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Older members of the tribe are active and they maintain normal weight as they age."

Get the Story:
The Stone Age Doc Philip J. Goscienski: Lifestyle biggest risk factor for diabetes (ReadingEagle.Com 8/26)