Energy expenditure and activity among Hadza hunter-gatherers.

Published

Journal Article

Studies of total energy expenditure, (TEE; kcal/day) among traditional populations have challenged current models relating habitual physical activity to daily energy requirements. Here, we examine the relationship between physical activity and TEE among traditional Hadza hunter-gatherers living in northern Tanzania.Hadza adults were studied at two camps, with minimal intervention so as to monitor energy expenditure and activity during normal daily life. We measured daily walking distance and walking speed using wearable GPS units for 41 adults. For a subset of 30 adults, we measured TEE using doubly labeled water, three indices of work load (foraging return rate, maternal status, and number of dependent children), and urinary biomarkers of metabolic activity and stress (8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine, cortisol, and testosterone).Fat-free mass was the single strongest predictor of TEE among Hadza adults (r(2)  = 0.66, P < 0.001). Hadza men used greater daily walking distances and faster walking speeds compared with that of Hadza women, but neither sex nor any measure of physical activity or work load were correlated with TEE in analyses controlling for fat-free mass. Compared with developed, industrial populations, Hadza adults had similar TEE but elevated levels of metabolic stress as measured by 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine.Our results indicate that daily physical activity may not predict TEE within traditional hunter-gatherer populations like the Hadza. Instead, adults with high levels of habitual physical activity may adapt by reducing energy allocation to other physiological activity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pontzer, H; Raichlen, DA; Wood, BM; Emery Thompson, M; Racette, SB; Mabulla, AZP; Marlowe, FW

Published Date

  • September 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 628 - 637

PubMed ID

  • 25824106

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25824106

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-6300

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1042-0533

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ajhb.22711

Language

  • eng