Advertisement

The Therapeutic and Preventive Potential of the Hunter-Gatherer Lifestyle

Insights from Australian Aborigines
  • Kerin O’Dea

Abstract

Prehistorians believe that Aborigines came to Australia from Southeast Asia at least 40,000-50,000 years ago (1). Until European colonization of Australia just over 200 years ago, Aborigines lived as hunter-gatherers all over the continent under widely varying geographic and climatic conditions, ranging from the tropical coastal regions of the north (latitude 11-20° S), through the vast arid regions of the center (latitude 20-30° S), to the cool-temperate regions of the south (latitude 30-43° S). The more fertile coastal areas, both north and south, could sustain larger populations than the arid inland or desert areas. Each tribal group hunted and gathered food in a defined territory, which could be as vast as 100,000 sq km in the desert regions or as small as 500 sq km in fertile coastal country (2).

Keywords

Bleeding Time Wild Plant Food Traditional Lifestyle Organ Meat Kimberley Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Flood J. Archeology of the Dreamtime. Sydney: Collins, 1983; 67–33.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kirk RL. Aboriginal Man Adapting: The Human Biology of Australian Aborigines. Melbourne: Clarendon Press, 1981; 39–62.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wise PH, Edwards FM, Thomas DW, Eliott RB, Hatcher L, Craig R. Diabetes and associated variables in the South Australian Aboriginal. Aust NZ JMed 1976; 6:191–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bastian P. Coronary heart disease in tribal Aborigines—the West Kimberley Survey. Aust NZ JMed 1979; 9:284–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Williams DDR, Moffitt PS, Fisher JS, Bashir, HV. Diabetes and glucose tolerance in New South Wales coastal Aborigines: possible effects of non-Aboriginal genetic admixture. Diabetologia 1987; 30:72–77.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    O’Dea K. Westernization, insulin resistance, and diabetes in Australian Aborigines. Med J Aust 1991; 155:258–264.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    O’Dea K, Spargo RM, Nestel PJ. Impact of westernization on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in Australian Aborigines. Diabetologia 1982; 22:148–153.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    O’Dea K, Traianedes K, Hopper JL, Larkins RG. Impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia and hypertriglyceridemia in Australian Aborigines from the desert. Diab Care 1988; 11:23–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    O’Dea K, Lion RJ, Lee A, Traianedes K, Hopper JL, Rae C. Diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia in small Aboriginal community in Northern Australia. Diab Care 1990; 13:830–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    O’Dea K, White NG, Sinclair AJ. An investigation of nutrition-related risk factors in an isolated Aboriginal community in northern Australia: advantages of a traditionally-orien- tated lifestyle. Med JAust 1988; 148:177–180.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Knowler WC, Pettit DJ, Saad MF, Bennett PH. Diabetes mellitus in the Pima Indians: incidence, risk factors and pathogenesis. Diab /Metab Rev 1990; 6:1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zimmet P, Dowse G, Finch C, Sargentson S, King H. The epidemiology and natural history of NIDDM: lessons from the South Pacific. Diab /Metab Rev 1990; 6:91–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dowse GK, Gareeboo H, Zimmet PZ, Albert KGMM, Tuomilehto J, Fareed D, Brissonnette LG, Finch CF. For the Mauritius Noncommunicable Disease Study Group: High prevalence of NIDDM and impaired glucose tolerance in Indian, Creole, and Chinese Mauritians. Diabetes 1990; 39:390–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mäher HM, Keen H. The Southall Diabetes Survey: prevalence of known diabetes in Asians and Europeans. Brit Med J 1985; 291:1081–1084.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stern MP. Primary prevention of type II diabetes mellitus. Diab Care 1991; 14:399–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Glatthaar C, Welborn TA, Stenhouse NS, Garcia-Webb P. Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. A prevalence estimate based on the Busselton. 1981 survey. Med J Aust 1985; 143:435–440.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rutishauser IHE, McKay H. Anthropometric status and body composition in Aboriginal women of the Kimberley region. MedJAust 1986; 144:S8-S10.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Modan M, Halkin H, Almog S, Lusky A, Eshkol A, Shefi M, Shitrit A, Fuchs Z. Hyperinsulinemia. A link between hypertension, obesity and glucose intolerance. J Clin Invest 1985; 75:809–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Reaven GM. Role of insulin resistance in human disease. Diabetes 1988; 37:1595–1607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Elphinstone JJ. The health of Australian Aborigines with no previous association with Europeans. Med JAust 1971; 2: 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lowenstein FW. Blood-pressure in relation to age and sex in the tropics and subtropics—A review of the literature and an investigation in two tribes of Brazil Indians. Lancet 1961; i:389–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    White, NG. Sex differences in Australian Aboriginal subsistence: possible implications for the biology of hunter-gather- ers. In: Ghesquierre J, Martin RD, Newcombe F, eds. Human Sexual Dimorphism. London: Taylor & Francis, 1985; 323–361.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Day J, Carruthers M, Bailey A, Robinson D. Anthropometric, physiological and biochemical differences between urban and rural Maasai. Atherosclerosis 1976; 23:357–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    O’Dea K, Spargo RM. Metabolic adaptation to a low carbohydrate-high-protein (‘traditional’) diet in Australian Aborigines. Diabetologia 1982; 23:494–498.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    O’Dea K, Spargo RM, Akerman K. The effect of transition from traditional to urban life-style on the insulin secretory response in Australian Aborigines. Diab Care 1980; 3:31–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    O’Dea K. Marked improvement in the carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian Aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984; 33: 596–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    O’Dea K, Sinclair AJ. The effects of low fat diets rich in arachi- donic acid on the composition of plasma fatty acids and bleeding time in Australian Aborigines. Int JNutr Vitaminol 1985; 31:441–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Naughton JM, O’Dea K, Sinclair AJ. Animal foods in traditional Aboriginal diets: polyunsaturated and low in fat. Lipids 1986; 21:684–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sinclair AJ, O’Dea K, Naughton JM. Elevated levels of arachi- donic acid in fish from northern Australian coastal waters. Lipids 1983; 18:877–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sinclair AJ, Slattery WJ, O’Dea K. The analysis of polyunsaturated fatty acids in meat by capillary gas liquid chromatography. J Sci FdAgric 1982; 33:771–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Brand JC, Rae C, McDonnell J, Lee A, Cherikoff V, Truswell AS. The nutritional composition of Australian Aboriginal bushfoods. 1. Food TechnolAust 1983: 35:293–298.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Thorburn AW, Brand JC, O’Dea K, Spargo RM, Truswell AS. Plasma glucose and insulin responses to starchy foods in Australian Aborigines: a population now at high risk of diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 1987; 46:282–285.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Butcher LA, O’Dea K, Sinclair AJ, Parkin JD, Smith IL, Allardice J, Blombery P. The effects of very low fat diets enriched with fish or kangaroo meat on cold-induced vasoconstriction and platelet function. Prostaglandins, Leuko- trienes and Essential Fatty Acids 1990; 39:221–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cowley AJ, Heptinstall S, Hampton JR. Effects of prostacyclin and of the stable prostacyclin analogue ZK36374 on forearm blood flow and blood platelet behaviour in man. Thromb Haemost 1985; 53:90–94.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Macfarlane WV. Aboriginal desert hunter-gatherers in transition. In: Hetzel BS, Frith HJ, eds. The Nutrition of Aborigines in Relation to the Ecosystem of Central Australia. Melbourne: CSIRO, 1978; 49–62.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    MacMahon SW, Maedonald GJ, Bernstein L, Andrews G, Blacket RB. Comparison of weight reduction with Metroprolol in treatment of hypertension in young overweight patients. Lancet 1985; i:1233–1236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Jennings G, Dart A, Meredith I, Körner P, Laufer E, Dewar E. Effects of exercise and other nonpharmacological measures on blood pressure and cardiac hypertrophy. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1991; 17(Suppl. 2):570–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Eaton SB, Konnor M. Paleolithic nutrition. A consideration of its nature and current implications. N Engl J Med 1985; 312:283–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerin O’Dea

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations