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The emergence of obesity among indigenous Siberians


Snodgrass, James Joshua; Leonard, William R.; Sorensen, Mark V.; Tarskaia, Larissa A.; Alekseev, Vasili P.; & Krivoshapkin, Vadim G. (2006). The emergence of obesity among indigenous Siberians. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 25(1), 75-84.


Once considered a disease of affluence and confined to industrialized nations, obesity is currently emerging as a major health concern in nearly every country in the world. Available data suggest that the prevalence rate of obesity has reached unprecedented levels in most developing countries, and is increasing at a rate that far outpaces that of developed nations. This increase in obesity has also been documented among North American circumpolar populations and is associated with lifestyle changes related to economic development. While obesity has not been well studied among indigenous Siberians, recent anthropological studies indicate that obesity and its associated comorbidities are important health problems.The present study examines recent adult body composition data from four indigenous Siberian populations (Evenki, Ket, Buriat, and Yakut) with two main objectives: 1) to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among these groups, and 2) to assess the influence of lifestyle and socioeconomic factors on the development of excess body fat. The results of this study indicate that obesity has emerged as an important health issue among indigenous Siberians, and especially for women, whose obesity rates are considerably higher than those of men (12% vs. 7%). The present study investigated the association between lifestyle and body composition among the Yakut, and documented substantial sex differences in lifestyle correlates of obesity. Yakut men with higher incomes and who owned more luxury consumer goods were more likely to have excess body fat while, among Yakut women, affluence was not strongly associated with overweight and obesity.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Physiological Anthropology


Snodgrass, James Joshua
Leonard, William R.
Sorensen, Mark V.
Tarskaia, Larissa A.
Alekseev, Vasili P.
Krivoshapkin, Vadim G.