Social Behaviors Evolve Faster than Humans Do: The Case of Pacific Populations

Monday, April 15, 2024 (2 PM – 3:30 PM)

Sela Panapasa

University of Michigan
Research Center for Group Dynamics

Pacific populations have been long observed to suffer a high burden of metabolic disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and gout. Social and economic changes since the end of WWII have impacted diet, activity levels, and behavioral changes faster than human evolution can accommodate the new demands these shifts place on biological systems. In critique of the ‘Thrifty Genotype’ hypothesis, this presentation by Sela Panapasa of the University of Michigan Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research systematically examines how the changing demographic, economic, food, political and built-environments in Pacific Island countries drives the high prevalence and risk for noncommunicable diseases, disability and premature mortality among these populations.


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