Department of Anthropology
Child nutrition and growth: Parental investment and life history theory approaches
WSUV Faculty participants
In small, kin-based communities, are some children cared for better than others? Further, within families, do parents invest differently in different children, and, if so, why? My research addresses the behavioral and psychological aspects of this question using data from Amazonian populations.
Among the Ecuadorian Shuar, for example, colleagues and I use anthropometric measures such as children's height, weight, BMI, skinfold thicknesses, and limb circumferences as indices of parental investment. Our main focus is to determine the factors that account for within-village and within-family variation in child growth and development. For instance, do parents "pay a price" for having large families in the form of the reduced growth and development of each child? Do adolescent sisters and brothers contribute positively or negatively to the growth and development of younger siblings?
We also investigate postpartum depression among Shuar women and its possible impact on their children.
Articles and Chapters
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