Understanding the pathogenesis of obesity is now more important than ever, given the remarkable world-wide epidemic. This paper explores the potential role of core temperature in energy balance, and develops the hypothesis that basal temperature and changes in the temperature response in various situations contribute to the enhanced metabolic efficiency of the obese state. The argument is based on the important contribution that heat production makes in establishing the basal or resting metabolic rate, as well as on an analysis of the adaptive role played by changes in temperature in response to environmental challenge. If this hypothesis is validated, new therapeutic approaches may ensue.
Article Archive: Motor Activity
Researchers and development organizations have shown interest in individual empowerment because it presumably improves well-being. Estimates of empowerment's effects on well-being contain biases from the potential endogeneity of empowerment. Using data from a sexually egalitarian and highly autarkic society of foragers and horticulturalists in the Bolivian Amazon, the Tsimane', we overcome the problems that this poses by: (1) matching spouses' responses to the same questions about who makes decisions or who breaks ties in 10 domains to improve accuracy in measures of empowerment; and (2) using parental attributes of spouses as instrumental variables for spousal empowerment. Outcomes include two anthropometric indices of short-run nutritional status: body-mass index and age and sex-standardized z scores of mid-arm muscle area. The amount of empowerment of household heads did not affect their nutritional status or other indicators of their well-being, such as income, wealth, expenditures, happiness, social capital, or self-perceived health. It also did not affect the nutritional status of their offspring. Nor did it affect the difference in income, wealth, or monetary expenditures between spouses. The insubstantial effects persisted with other definitions of empowerment or types of regressions. We end with a discussion of why empowerment, despite its popularity in development discourse, has such tenuous links with objective indicators of well-being, and the implication of this finding for future studies of empowerment's effects.
BACKGROUND: Populations in transition to a Western lifestyle display increased incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases; the mechanisms responsible for these changes, however, remain incompletely understood. Although reduced physical activity has been implicated, few studies have accurately quantified energy expenditure in subsistence populations.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the relation of total energy expenditure (TEE) and activity [physical activity level (PAL), activity energy expenditure (AEE), and weight-adjusted AEE (AEE/kg)] with body composition and lifestyle in the Yakut (Sakha), an indigenous high-latitude Siberian group.
DESIGN: We measured TEE using doubly labeled water and resting metabolic rate using indirect calorimetry in 28 young adults (14 women and 14 men) from Berdygestiakh, Russia.
RESULTS: The men had higher TEE (12,983 compared with 9620 kJ/d; P < 0.01), AEE (5248 compared with 3203 kJ/d; P < 0.05), AEE/kg (72.7 compared with 48.8 kJ . kg(-1) . d(-1); P < 0.05), and PAL (1.7 compared with 1.5; P = 0.09) than did the women, although this may reflect, in part, body size and composition differences. Overweight men and women had modestly higher TEEs than did lean participants; when adjusted for body size, activity levels were not significantly different between the groups. Persons with more traditional lifestyles had higher TEEs and PALs than did persons with more modernized lifestyles; this difference correlated with differences in participation in subsistence activities.
CONCLUSIONS: Activity levels in the Yakut were lower than those in other subsistence groups, especially the women, and were not significantly different from those in persons in industrialized nations. Persons who participated in more subsistence activities and consumed fewer market foods had significantly higher activity levels.