This paper considers the discipline of palaeopathology, how it has developed, how it is studied, and what limitations present challenges to analysis. The study of disease has a long history and has probably most rapidly developed over the last 40-50 years with the development of methods, and particularly ancient pathogen DNA analysis. While emphasizing that palaeopathology has close synergies to evolutionary medicine, it focuses then on three ‘case studies’ that illustrate the close interaction people have had with their environments and how that has impacted their health. Upper and lower respiratory tract disease has affected sinuses and ribs, particularly in urban contexts, and tuberculosis in particular has been an ever present disease throughout thousands of years of our existence. Ancient DNA methods are now allowing us to explore how strains of the bacteria causing TB have changed through time. Vitamin D deficiency and ‘phossy jaw’ are also described, both potentially related to polluted environments, and possibly to working conditions in the industrial period. Access to UV light is emphasized as a preventative factor for rickets and where a person lives is important (latitude). The painful stigmatizing ‘phossy jaw’ appears to be a condition related to the match making industries. Finally, thoughts for the future are outlined, and two key concerns: a close consideration of ethical issues and human remains, especially with destructive analyses, and thinking more about how palaeopathological research can impact people beyond academia.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing globally in both developing and developed countries, especially, those with rapid cultural and social changes. The aims of current study were twofold: (a) to examine, for the first time in Syria, the prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity in Syrian women and obesity-related socio-demographic determinants, and (b) to establish a base line data about obesity related determinants needed to develop appropriate treatment and prevention strategies. Cross-sectional study with a randomly representative sample of 923 women aged 18-60 years was conducted. Waist (WC) and hip circumference (HC) were measured, and body mass index (BMI) waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were calculated. Socio-demographic data were collected with a designed questionnaire. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity in Syrian women as defined by BMI were 31% and 43%, respectively. The overall central obesity as defined by WC and WHR were 53% and 33%, respectively. The prevalence of obesity and central obesity were increased with age. WC and HC were strongly correlated with BMI. The mean BMIs and other anthropometric measurements were significantly higher in married, house wife, less educated, high parity, and low physical activity women. The results of this study indicate an increased rates of overweight, overall, and central obesity in Syrian women. Also, central obesity as defined by WC is higher than BMI derived obesity. In conclusion, WC is more appropriate to be used for obesity assessment, where, BMI underestimates the obesity prevalence among middle-age women. Development of appropriate treatment and prevention strategies are urgently needed to combat with increasing rate of obesity among Syrian women.
Andrzej Wiśniewski, Wojciech Jarosz, Anna Czajkowska, Anna Mróz, Marcin Smolarczyk, Andrzej Magiera, Przemysław Kowalczyk, Dagmara Zimmerman-Rysz and Marek Kowalczyk
Few studies have been published in Poland concerning body dimensions of firefighters from the State Fire Service although this knowledge is needed for e.g. development of personal protective equipment. The aim of the study was to evaluate body dimensions and weight-to-height ratio in firefighters from the State Fire Service. Using the anthropological procedures, body mass (BM) and body height (BH) were examined in 178 men at the chronological age (CA) of 19.5 to 53 years who were rescuers from the national rescue and fire brigades of the State Fire Service. The study participants were divided into three categories of CA: up to 25 years, between 24 and 44 years, and over 44 years. The results were compared to population standards. It was found that BH of the youngest rescuers was significantly higher (0.05) than in other study participants. Based on the standardized values of BM and BMI, population of firefighters aged over 25 years was found to be characterized by overweight and, in certain cases, even by obesity. The excess level of body mass index (BMI ≥ 25 kgm2) was found in nearly 60% of study participants, with half of the group classified as overweight (n=31, BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2), and 10% classified as obese. Due to the worrying high percentage of cases of excess body mass in firefighters from the State Fire Service, it was found that it is recommended to evaluate the relationships between body height and mass on regular basis during periodical obligatory tests of physical fitness of rescuers from the State Fire Service and to increase the frequency and duration of training sessions.
Sadaruddin Biswas, Som Prasad Giri and Kaushik Bose
Being a developing nation, rural India is still facing a serious health problem in form of undernutrition particularly among young children. To optimize this problem, the Central Government has been operating a nationwide nutritional intervention programme in the form of Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme. Unfortunately, it has failed to achieve the desired goal during last four decades. Therefore the present study was designed to measure the seriousness and severity of overall undernutrition using Composite Index of Anthropometric Failure (CIAF) among the rural Bengalee preschool children of Sagar Block, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 656 preschool children (326 boys and 330 girls) aged 3 to 5 years. Height (cm) and weight (kg) measurements were taken according to standard procedure, age and sex specific 2 z-scores values of height-for-age, weight-for-height and weight-for-age were used to assess stunting, wasting and underweight, respectively, as per the World Health Organization Guidelines. CIAF was also computed as per standard methodology to assess the degree of undernutrition among the studied children. The overall age and sex combined prevalence of stunting, wasting, underweight and CIAF was 26.2%, 35.4%, 51.1% and 61.3%, respectively. CIAF showed a higher prevalence of undernutrition (61.28%) in comparison to other three indicators i.e., stunting, wasting and underweight. We conclude that the nutritional status of the subjects was not satisfactory. It was also established that the CIAF is a better indicator of nutritional status than traditional measures of stunting, wasting and underweight, because it determines overall (total) anthropometric failure.
Walter King Yan Ho, Md Dilsad Ahmed, Chi Ian Leong, Patrick Chan, Rudolph Leon Van Niekerk, Fan Huang, Haili Tian, Min Liu, Nikon Chan, João Silva, Wilfred Wong, Frederick K. Ho and Patrick Ip
There is evidence that rapid weight gain during the first year of life is associated with being overweight later in life. Therefore, overweight tendencies need to be detected at an appropriate age, and suitable strategies need to be implemented for weight management to achieve optimal long-term health. The objective of this study was to investigate comparisons in BMI status and associated categories in male and female students over ten years in two phases, including 2008-2013 and 2009-2014. Weight and height data were collected to obtain BMI (Body Mass Index) over ten years in two phases. The first phase occurred from 2008 to 2013, and the second phase occurred from 2009 to 2014 in a population of 10846 school children (Males: 6970, 64.3%, and females: 3875, 35.7%) in Macau. Their ages ranged from 6 years old in 2008 to 11 years old in 2013. The same age range was observed in the second phase, i.e., 2009-2014. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, such as the mean, standard deviation, t-tests to determine gender differences (year-wise) and a Chi square test for independence to determine the relationship between BMI (Underweight, Standard, Overweight and Obese) and age groups. In the first phase (2008-2013), the findings indicated a higher BMI level among the male students than the female students across all age groups (2008 t = 5.24, 2009 t = 88.25, 2010 t = 11.32, 2011 t = 17.45, 2012 t = 19.70 and 2013 t = 19.92). In the second phase (2009-2014), a higher BMI level was found among the male students than the female students across all age groups (2009 t = 2.68, 2010 t = 2.886, 2011 t = 3.076, 2013 t = 4.228, and 2014 t = 2.405). The results of the two phases combined (2008 to 2014 and 2009 to 2014) revealed that male students in 2008 had a higher BMI level than their counterparts in 2009 in the two age categories (8 years t = 3.025 and 11 years t = 3.377). Female students in the second phase (2009-2014) showed a higher BMI level than their male counterparts (9 years, t = 3.151). The results indicate the need to have focused strategies and structured interventions for male students at the critical age range of 8 to 9 years old. The results of this study also imply the need for the delivery of suitable school intervention activities at the appropriate time. Specifically, the prevention of weight gain should start early in life to encourage the development of healthier behaviours and habits throughout childhood and later ages.
Piotr Sękowski, Elżbieta Żądzińska, Elżbieta Pawłowska, Aneta Sitek and Bogusław Antoszewski
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