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  1. Abstract Background and objectives

    Non-communicable disease risk and the epidemic of cardiometabolic diseases continue to grow across the expanding industrialized world. Probing the relationships between evolved human physiology and modern socioecological conditions is central to understanding this health crisis. Therefore, we investigated the relationships between increased market access, shifting subsistence patterns and cardiometabolic health indicators within Daasanach semi-nomadic pastoralists who vary in their engagement in traditional lifestyle and emerging market behaviors.


    We conducted cross-sectional socioecological, demographic and lifestyle stressor surveys along with health, biomarker and nutrition examinations among 225 (51.6% female) Daasanach adults in 2019–2020. We used linear mixed-effects models to test how differing levels of engagement in market integration and traditional subsistence activities related to blood pressure (BP), body composition and blood chemistry.


    We found that systolic and diastolic BP, as well as the probability of having high BP (hypertension), were negatively associated with distance to market, a proxy for market integration. Additionally, body composition varied significantly by socioeconomic status (SES), with significant positive associations between BMI and body fat and higher SES among adults.

    Conclusions and implications

    While evidence for evolutionary mismatch and health variation have been found across a number of populations affected by an urban/rural divide, these results demonstrate the effects of market integration and sedentarization on cardiometabolic health associated with the early stages of lifestyle changes. Our findings provide evidence for the changes in health when small-scale populations begin the processes of sedentarization and market integration that result from myriad market pressures.

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  2. Abstract Objective: Water plays a critical role in the production of food and preparation of nutritious meals, yet few studies have examined the relationship between water and food insecurity. The primary objective of this study, therefore, was to examine how experiences of household water insecurity (HWI) relate to experiences of household food insecurity (HFI) among a pastoralist population living in an arid, water-stressed region of northern Kenya. Design: We implemented the twelve-item Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE, range 0–36) Scale and the nine-item Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS, range 0–27) in a cross-sectional survey to measure HWI and HFI, respectively. Data on socio-demographic characteristics and intake of meat and dairy in the prior week were collected as covariates of interest. Setting: Northern Kenya, June–July 2019. Participants: Daasanach pastoralist households ( n 136) from seven communities. Results: In the prior 4 weeks, 93·4 % and 98·5 % of households had experienced moderate-to-severe HWI and HFI, respectively. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated a strong association between HWI and HFI. Each point higher HWISE score was associated with a 0·44-point (95 % CI: 0·22, 0·66, P = 0·003) higher HFIAS score adjusting for socio-economic status and other covariates. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate high prevalence and co-occurrence of HWI and HFI among Daasanach pastoralists in northern Kenya. This study highlights the need to address HWI and HFI simultaneously when developing policies and interventions to improve the nutritional well-being of populations whose subsistence is closely tied to water availability and access. 
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  4. Abstract

    The KNM-ER 2598 occipital is among the oldest fossils attributed toHomo erectusbut questions have been raised about whether it may derive from a younger horizon. Here we report on efforts to relocate the KNM-ER 2598 locality and investigate its paleontological and geological context. Although located in a different East Turkana collection area (Area 13) than initially reported, the locality is stratigraphically positioned below the KBS Tuff and the outcrops show no evidence of deflation of a younger unit, supporting an age of >1.855 Ma. Newly recovered faunal material consists primarily of C4grazers, further confirmed by enamel isotope data. A hominin proximal 3rd metatarsal and partial ilium were discovered <50 m from the reconstructed location where KNM-ER 2598 was originally found but these cannot be associated directly with the occipital. The postcrania are consistent with fossilHomoand may represent the earliest postcrania attributable toHomo erectus.

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  5. Abstract Objectives

    Investigations of early childhood growth among small‐scale populations are essential for understanding human life history variation and enhancing the ability to serve such communities through global public health initiatives. This study characterizes early childhood growth trajectories and identifies differences in growth patterns relative to international references among Daasanach semi‐nomadic pastoralist children living in a hot, arid region of northern Kenya.


    A large sample of height and weight measures were collected from children (N = 1756; total observations = 4508; age = 0–5 years) between 2018 and 2020. Daasanach growth was compared to international reference standards and Daasanach‐specific centile growth curves and pseudo‐velocity models were generated using generalized additive models for location scale and size.


    Compared to World Health Organization (WHO) reference, relatively few Daasanach children were stunted (14.3%), while a large proportion were underweight (38.5%) and wasted (53.6%). Additionally, Daasanach children had a distinctive pattern of growth, marked by an increase in linear growth velocity after 24 months of age and relatively high linear growth velocity throughout the rest of early childhood.


    These results identify a unique pattern of early childhood growth faltering among children in a small‐scale population and may reflect a thermoregulatory adaptation to their hot, arid environment. As linear growth and weight gain remain important indicators of health, the results of this study provide insight into growth velocity variations. This study has important implications for global public health efforts to identify and address sources of early growth faltering and undernutrition in small‐scale populations.

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