Growth and nutritional status of the Evenki reindeer herders of Siberia

William R. Leonard*, PT Katzmarzyk, Anthony G. Comuzzie, Michael H. Crawford, Rem I. Sukernik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study examines physical growth and nutritional status in a sample of 478 (247 males; 231 females) Evenki herders of Central Siberia. The Evenki display slow growth in stature and body weight, particularly during late childhood and adolescence. Adult males fall below the U.S. 5th percentiles for both stature and body weight. Adult females are below the 5th percentile for stature and approximate the 15th percentile for weight. Despite their diminutive size, the Evenki appear to have adequate energy reserves, as indicated by their skinfold measurements, which range between the U.S. 15th and 50th percentiles. Among adults, women are relatively heavier and fatter than men and tend to increase in weight and fatness with age. Poor growth in the Evenki does not appear to be directly attributable to limited food availability. Rather, it is hypothesized that elevated metabolic requirements, associated with adaptation to a high latitude ecosystem, are responsible for limiting the amount of energy that is allocated to growth. Relatively high levels of adiposity in adult females appear to be the product of changes in activity patterns and fertility levels that resulted after the collectivization of the Evenki. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

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