Adult obesity: Panel study from native Amazonians

Wu Zeng*, Dan T.A. Eisenberg, Karla Rubio Jovel, Eduardo A. Undurraga, Colleen Nyberg, Susan Tanner, Victoria Reyes-García, William R. Leonard, Juliana Castaño, Tomás Huanca, Thomas W. McDade, Ricardo Godoy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper examines three morphological indicators measuring obesity among a native Amazonian population of foragers-farmers in Bolivia (Tsimane') and estimates the associations between them and standard covariates of obesity (e.g.; socioeconomic status [SES]). We collected annual data from 350 non-pregnant women and 385 men ≥20 years of age from all 311 households in 13 villages during five consecutive years (2002-2006). We used three indicators to measure obesity: body-mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and body fat using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BF-BIA). We ran separate individual random-effect panel multiple regressions for women and men with wealth, acculturation, health, and household food availability as key covariates, and controlled for village and year fixed effects and village × year interaction effects. Although BMI increases by a statistically significant annual growth rate of 0.64% among women and 0.37% among men over the five years, the increase does not yield significant biological meanings. Neither do we find consistent and biologically meaningful covariates associated with adult obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • BMI
  • Bolivia
  • Overweight
  • Tsimane' Amazonian Panel Study (TAPS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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