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7 August 2012
Sitting down all day might not make you fat!

A surprising new study into a comparison of the metabolic rates of modern humans and ancient hunter gatherers has recently been published in the July Edition of PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science). The 'ancient' hunter gatherers used for the comparison were members of the Hadza tribe from northern Tanzania, who's lifestyle is widely accepted to be as close to the true ancient hunter gatherers as possible.
     The team of researchers comprised Herman Pontzer (of Hunter College, New York City, USA), assisted by David Raichlen, University of Arizona and Brian M Wood of Stanford University. They compared the daily expenditure of energy (calories) of both the groups, taking into account body weight, body fat percentage, age and gender. The surprise result was that there was virtually no difference in the metabolic rate of the hunter gatherers and the average member of modern day Western civilisation. So maybe a sedentary lifestyle does not automatically lead to obesity? Herman Pontzer puts it quite succinctly "These results highlight the complexity of energy expenditure. It's not simply a function of physical activity. Our metabolic rates may be more a reflection of our shared evolutionary past than our diverse modern lifestyles".

Edited from Popular Archaeology (25 July 2012)

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