Rooting out the causes of disease: Why diabetes is so common among desert dwellers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


From the land of the Navajo, let us go southward into Mexico once again, to a coastal community of another indigenous people. Although genetically unrelated, the Navajo of the United States and the Seri of Mexico share a problem that has both a genetic and a nutritional component: adult-onset diabetes. This nutrition-related disease is one of the three top causes of death among these two Native American groups and among many other indigenous communities as well. Ironically, a half century ago, its presence as a health risk was so minor in these communities that more Indians were dying each year of accidental snake bite than of diabetes. To understand why that change occurred, and what it means for all of us, we must listen not just to epidemiologists, but to the native peoples themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFood and Culture
Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781136162039
ISBN (Print)9780415521031
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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