There are not many areas that are more rooted in both the biological and social-cultural aspects of humankind than diet and nutrition. Throughout human history nutrition has been shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces, and in turn, access to food and nutrition has altered the course and direction of human societies. Using a biosocial approach, the contributors to Human Diet and Nutrition in Biocultural Perspective investigate the ways in which food is both an essential resource fundamental to human health and an expression of human culture and society. The chapters deal with aspects of diet and human nutrition through space and time and span prehistoric, historic and contemporary societies spread over various geographical regions, including Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia to highlight how biology and culture are inextricably linked.
"The editors provide a nice integration of the book material in the conclusion. While the individual chapters do not, for the most part, provide examples of integrative biocultural approaches, the editors skilfully weave them together thematically and in relation to current issues in the conclusion [...] the book provides a nice sampling of the spectrum of data and approaches that constitute the field, and as such would be useful for a class in nutritional anthropology."
"The individual chapters presented in the volume are well written and together detail a broad range of methodological approaches to the topics around which the volume is structured [...] This edited volume would be of particular interest to advanced graduate students or researchers interested in the specific topics covered by each chapter."
– Medical Anthropology Quarterly
"This is a high-quality publication. Many of the chapters are excellent reviews of methods and perspectives in their particular area. The editors have clearly done a good job [...] There is a strong mix of topics that go well together and are tied together by the first and last chapters."
– Alan Goodman, Hampshire College
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Chapter 1. Introduction: A Biocultural Approach to Human Diet and Nutrition
T. Moffat and T. Prowse
PART I: EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES ON NUTRITION
Chapter 2. Nutritional and Metabolic Influences on Human Brain Evolution
W. R. Leonard, M. L. Robertson and J. J. Snodgrass
Chapter 3. Child Growth among Southern African Foragers in the Past
S. Pfeiffer and L. Harrington
Chapter 4. Infant and Young Child Feeding in Human Evolution
D. W. Sellen
PART II: BREASTFEEDING AND BEYOND: NUTRITION THROUGHOUT THE LIFE COURSE
Chapter 5. The Use of Stable Isotope Analysis to Determine Infant and Young Child Feeding Patterns
T. L. Dupras
Chapter 6. A Community in Transition: Deconstructing Breastfeeding Trends in Gibraltar, 1955-96
L. A. Sawchuk, E. K. Bryce and S. D. A. Burke
PART III: FOOD INSECURITY AND MALNUTRITION
Chapter 7. Dietary Diversity, Dietary Transitions and Childhood Nutrition in Nepal: Questions of Methodology and Practice
T. Moffat and E. Finnis
Chapter 8. Responses to a Food Crisis and Child Malnutrition in the Nigerien Sahel
R. E. Casiday, K. R. Hampshire, C. Panter-Brick and K. Kilpatrick
PART IV: NUTRITIONAL FACTORS IN GROWTH AND DISEASE
Chapter 9. Growth, Morbidity, and Mortality in Antiquity: A Case Study from Imperial Rome
T. Prowse, S. Saunders, C. Fitzgerald, L. Bondioli and R. Macchiarelli
Chapter 10. Examining Nutritional Aspects of Bone Loss and Fragility across the Life Cycle in Bioarchaeology
S. C. Agarwal and B. Glencross
Chapter 11. Obesity - An Emerging Epidemic: Temporal trends in North America
P. T. Katzmarzyk
PART V: CONCLUSION
Chapter 12. Diet and Nutrition in Biocultural Perspective: Back to the Future
T. Prowse and T. Moffat
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Tina Moffat is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University. Her research focuses on child health and nutrition in relation to environmental health and urban ecosystems. She has authored and co-authored numerous scholarly journal publications on child growth and infant feeding in Nepal and nutritional well-being and obesity among North American school-children.
Tracy Prowse is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University. Her research explores diet and health in past populations using paleopathological and isotopic analyses of human bones and teeth. She has published on the paleodiet of Roman Italy in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and the Journal of Archaeological Science.