The thrifty-gene hypothesis has reigned as the dominant explanation for soaring rates of obesity and diabetes among many aboriginal groups. The Globe & Mail dig a little deeper in to the substance of this meme:
- Dr. Neel, an influential geneticist at the University of Michigan, felt that genes were partly to blame. He speculated that genetic traits among the world's prehistoric hunter-gatherers enabled them to store calories during times of feast in order to survive in times of famine.
But with "the blessings of civilization," he wrote, these thrifty genes had become hazardous baggage in a sedentary world of all feast and no famine, predisposing carriers to obesity and the diseases it brings.