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Lecture 22 - The Human Life Course - March 26.docx

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Keriann Mc Googan

March 26, 2013. Lecture 22 – The Human Life Course Human Life Course  Growth and development  Life history theory Growth and Development  Growth: increase in mass or number of cells  Development: differentiation of cells into different types of tissues and their maturation  In humans: skeletal growth and development  Bone growth o Ossification: during growth, cartilage cells broken down and replaced by bone cells o Stature is looked at to indicate success of growth, status in children, etc.  Changes in stature tracked in distance curve; tracking a person’s height from year to year  Velocity curve: amount of increase in height each year  Very much influenced by health and nutrition  Brain Growth o Pattern of brain growth in humans unique among mammals  Human brain size at birth 25% of its adult size, by 6 months is has doubled to 50% o Narrow pelvis for bipedal locomotion  Nutrition o Sect of anthropology o Growth and development affected by nutrition; highly important for pregnant women o 1. Undernutrition  Lack of access to food containing specific nutrients  Either not available or not affordable  2 billion people worldwide are undernourished  Undernourished are more susceptible to infectious disease o 2. Overnutrition  Overweight and obesity  More cereals, dairy, refined sugars  Related to onset of agriculture  Pre-agriculture diet was much lower in fat and higher in proteins  Change in activity since pre-agriculture  “Thrifty genotype” and diabetes?  Diabetes; not sure if biological or environmental  Thrifty genotype: certain populations have a genotype allowing them to store excess carbohydrates as fat when food was available and being able to access those stores later when less food was available  Not seeing this fluctuation in food availability anymore  Severe increase in overweight and obese children from 1978 to 2004 o Calculating under and over nutrition  Anthropometric data typically used to assess obesity and body fatness  Include height, weight, waist circumference, and skinfold thicknesses.  The standard measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI)  Calculated as body weight (kg)/height (m) . Life History Theory  Human life cycle o Birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age  Human life cycle is shaped by evolutionary forces o E.g. life expectancy  Life history theory o How natural selection operated on life cycle from conception to death o In humans: life cycle stages marked by biological transitions  Infancy: nursing from their mothers  Childhood: weaning off nursing until sexual maturity  Adulthood: completion of life cycle, has stopped growing  Old Age: end of reproductive phase o Also a cultural context in humans  E.g. menopause  Different stages of life treated differently across cultures  Birth o Large brain in humans o Challenges:  Must deliver large infant head through narrow pelvis  Infants more dependent and helpless o Other mammals:  Head first, facing front of birth canal o Humans  Facing back of birth canal  Require help  Cultural aspect associated with childbirth  Infancy o Period where breast feeding takes place o In humans: 3 – 4 years  Western societies may be exception  When less food available; advantageous to maintain breast feeding phase so that babies are not lost due to undernutrition  Likely pattern during human evolutionary history  Provides important antibodies  Childhood o Long, slow growth periods o Lengthened period of dependency  Unique among humans, lots of learning from parents  In other mammals after being weaned off, expected to provide food for themselves  Adolescence o Rapid growth  Changes in body size and shape, testes in boys, breasts in girls o Growth caused by hormonal changes  Increased testosterone in boys, increased estrogen in girls o Onset of menarche in girls  Related to nutrition, genetics, stress, disease  Can all impact how ear
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