Advertisement

Core Concepts in Nutritional Anthropology

  • Sera L. YoungEmail author
  • Gretel H. Pelto
Chapter
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)

Abstract

As a discipline whose aim is to understand the human animal and its place in the natural order of things, a hallmark of anthropology is that its practitioners often engage in research that has the effect of making the familiar strange, and the strange familiar. For example, nutritional anthropologists examine practices in contemporary Euro-American societies that are taken for granted as simply “normal” or “natural” and reveal how culture-bound they actually are. The structure of meals, in which foods are served sequentially with soup first and dessert last, strikes people in other parts of the world as quite peculiar. They also seek to understand and “make sense” out of culinary practices that at first encounter appear to be irrational, such as the prohibition of beef consumption in food-scarce, poor Hindu villages. On more careful study, this prohibition turns out to be ecologically sound because of the complex energetic relationships of animals, humans, fuel, and agricultural production in South Asia [1].

Keywords

Anthropology Biocultural Ecological model Pica Adaptation Emic Etic 

References

  1. 1.
    Harris M. India’s sacred cow. Hum Nat. 1978;28–36.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quandt SA. Nutrition in medical anthropology. In: Sargent CF, Johnson TM, editors. Medical anthropology. Westport: Praeger; 1996. p. 272–89.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pelto GH, Goodman AH, Dufour DL. The biocultural perspective in nutritional anthropology. In: Goodman AH, Dufour DL, Pelto GH, editors. Nutritional anthropology. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company; 2000. p. 1–9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jerome NW, Kandel RF, Pelto GH. An ecological approach to nutritional anthropology. In: Jerome NW, Kandel RF, Pelto GH, editors. Nutritional anthropology: contemporary approaches to diet and culture. New York: Redgrave Publishing Company; 1980. p. 13–45.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Katz SH, Hediger ML, Valleroy LA. Traditional maize processing techniques in the new world. Science. 1975;184:765–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jelliffe DB, Bennett FJ. Cultural and anthropological factors in infant and maternal nutrition. Fed Proc. 1961;20:185–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Young SL. Craving earth: understanding pica. New York: Columbia University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Young SL. Pica in pregnancy: new ideas about an old condition. Annu Rev Nutr. 2010;30:403–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Aetius of Amida, Ricci JV. Aetios of Amida, the gynaecology and obstetrics of the sixth century. Philadelphia: Blakiston Company; 1542/1950.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Laufer B. Geophagy. Field museum of natural history. Anthropol Ser. 1930;18(2):97–198.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Horner R, Lackey C, Kolasa K, Warren K. Pica practices of pregnant women. J Am Diet Assoc. 1991;91:34–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rainville AJ. Pica practices of pregnant women are associated with lower maternal hemoglobin level at delivery. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98:293–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vermeer DE. Geophagy among the Tiv of Nigeria. Ann Assoc Am Geogr. 1966;56:197–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hunter JM. Macroterme geophagy and pregnancy clays in southern Africa. J Cult Geogr. 1993;14:69–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Young SL, Khalfan S, Farag T, et al. Pica is associated with anemia and gastrointestinal distress among pregnant Zanzibari women. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010;83:144–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Young SL, Wilson MJ, Hillier S, Delbos E, Ali SM, Stoltzfus R. Differences and commonalities in physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties of Zanzibari geophagic soils. J Chem Ecol. 2010;36:129–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Young S, Wilson M, Miller D, Hillier S. Toward a comprehensive approach to the collection and analysis of pica substances, with emphasis on geophagic materials. PLoS One. 2008;3:e3147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Riverius L, Culpeper N, Cole A. The practice of physick wherein is plainly set forth the nature, cause, differences, and several sorts of signs: together with the cure of all diseases in the body of man. With many additions in several places never printed before. printed by Peter Cole printer and book-seller at the sign of the Printing-press in Cornhil near the Royal Exchange. London; 1663.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Young SL, Goodman D, Farag T, et al. Geophagia is not associated with Trichuris or hookworm transmission in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007;101:766–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Profet M. Pregnancy sickness as adaptation: a deterrent to maternal ingestion of teratogens. In: Barkow JH, Cosmides L, Tooby J, editors. The adapted mind: evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1992. p. 327–66.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Johns T. The chemical ecology of human ingestive behaviors. Annu Rev Anthropol. 1999;28:27–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Johns T, Duquette M. Detoxification and mineral supplementation as functions of geophagy. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53:448–56.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pelto GH. Nutritional anthropology. In: Solomon HK and William WW, editors. Encyclopedia of food and culture. New York: Scribners; 2002. p. 595–6.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Goodman AH, Lallo J, Armelagos GJ, Rose JC, Cohen MN, Armelagos GJ. Health changes at Dickson Mounds, Illinois (AD 950–1300). In: Cohen MN, Armelagos GJ, editors. Paleopathology at the origins of agriculture. New York: Academic Press; 1984. p. 271–306.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cohen MN. Health and the rise of civilizations. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1989.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sellen D. Polygyny and child growth in a traditional pastoral society: the case of the Datoga of Tanzania. Hum Nat. 1999;10:329–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gittelsohn J, Davis SM, Steckler A, et al. Pathways: lessons learned and future directions for school-based interventions among American Indians. Prev Med. 2003;37:S107–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Blum L, Pelto G, Pelto P. Coping with a nutrient deficiency: cultural models of vitamin A deficiency in northern Niger. Med Anthropol. 2004;23:195–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    McCracken RD. Lactase deficiency: an example of dietary evolution. Curr Anthropol. 1971;12:479–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bloom G, Sherman P. Dairying barriers affect the distribution of lactose malabsorption. Evol Hum Behav. 2005;26:301–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Scrimshaw N, Gleason G, editors. Rapid assessment procedures: qualitative methodologies for planning and evaluation of health related programmes. Boston: International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries; 1992.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Scrimshaw S, Hurtado E. Rapid Assessment Procedures for nutrition and primary health care: anthropological approaches to improving programme effectiveness. Los Angeles: Latin American Studies Center; 1987.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Blum L, Pelto P, Pelto G, Kuhnlein H. Community assessment of natural food sources of vitamin A: guidelines for an ethnographic protocol. Boston: International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries and International Development Research Center; 1997.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Nutritional SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations