About the event
Early child growth and feeding in local context
Dr. Melanie Martin
Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Department of Anthropology
Early life growth outcomes are influenced by endemic exposures—e.g. ethnic growth patterns, cultural norms, nutritional and disease ecologies—and individually-varying factors such as household access to resources, family size, and paternal responses to perceived growth. Accurate assessment of endemic vs. locally-varying growth determinants is therefore relevant to questions about variation in biological fitness and the design and implementation of nutritional and health interventions.
Drawing on research with two South American indigenous populations, the Tsimane of Boliva and the Qom/Toba of Argentina, I illustrate how relationships between infant feeding practices and growth outcomes may vary depending on modeling methods and local contexts. Comparing Tsimane growth outcomes calculated from within-population vs. WHO references, I demonstrate that age and weaning are confounded in WHO but not Tsimane-derived models of height-for-age. I then discuss methodological considerations for examining Qom/Toba postnatal growth trajectories as they influence and are influenced by birth conditions and breastfeeding trajectories.
All are welcome to attend!