Next Monday, April 30, UCLA’s Center for Behavior, Education, and Culture (BEC) will welcome Dawn Neill, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, for a talk from 11 AM to 2 PM in Haines 352. Here is Prof. Neill’s abstract:
Urbanization is proceeding rapidly in many developing countries as part of a larger process of development and involves the shift of rural residents to urban cities. The shift from a rural to urban ecology entails changes in patterns of food production and/or purchase, preparation, and consumption. Existing research has consistently demonstrated an association between urbanization and dietary changes linked to increasing rates of overweight and obesity. Rural-urban variation in food cost and availability modifies the individual-level costs and benefits associated with dietary choices. It is suggested that the traditional rural dietary pattern is undergoing modification as urbanization occurs and individual food choice tradeoffs result. Empirically-derived diet clusters are created from 24-hour dietary recalls from 306 urban and rural living Indo-Fijian children. Results suggest the existence of a rural-traditional vegetable-based pattern and an urban-modified pattern. Using an embodied capital framework, mother’s education is shown to be the strongest predictor of diet, along with number of offspring and parents’ childhood ecology; urban ecology does not significantly predict diet. Mother’s embodied capital is also shown to be significantly associated with higher child BMIs, regardless of diet.