Height decreased by 8.5cm in men and 7.7cm in women when South Asians transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming around 9,000 years ago, but their lean mass (organ and muscle mass) has remained unchanged over the past 11,000 years, the study said.
Since changes in lean mass are unlikely over the next four to five generations, making lifestyle interventions are crucial to containing NCDs, which account for 60% of all deaths in India.
The study suggests that while height is determined by nutritional factors, physique (bone breadth and lean mass) reflects ecological pressures. “The decrease in height probably took place very quickly (over hundreds of years rather than thousands). After the initial drop in height with the adoption of farming, it then continued to decrease very slowly between about 5,000 years ago and today,” lead author Dr Emma Pomeroy, lecturer in the Evolution of Health, Diet and Disease, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, said in an email interview. “The ancient origins
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