Geographical areas of specialization:
- South Asia; particularly India
- human diet and nutrition and the adaptive significance of human dietary behavior; medical anthropology; biocultural perspectives and theory; biological normalcy – how population biology and ideas about “normal” human biology are related; human adaptability, particularly to stressful environments such as high altitude; demography; life history theory
I am interested in how biology affects culture, how culturally patterned behavior affects biology, and how these forces interact over time, and my current work develops the concept of biological normalcy.
My main area of current research broadly concerns human diet and nutrition; my earlier work focused on maternal-infant health in the high-altitude Himalaya.
- Diet and Nutrition
- Maternal-infant health and high altitude adaptation
My current work is on the relationship between milk consumption and child health in the United States and in India. I am interested in testing widespread claims that milk enhances child growth, particularly in height. I have also worked on the relationship between milk consumption and age at menarche, milk consumption and how it affects children who grow particularly rapidly, and I am more broadly concerned with the relationship between milk consumption and life history parameters.
I am interested in the U.S. and India because both are major producers of milk and both have cultural and/or religious traditions that privilege milk, yet the context in which milk is promoted is very different.
My earlier work focused on maternal and infant health within the ecological and cultural context of the Tibetan plateau of the high altitude Himalaya in India, where I conducted long term research. I was particularly concerned with how both the ecological challenges inherent to this environment (e.g., hypoxia) as well as culturally prescribed patterns of behavior affect maternal and infant health. In addition, I am interested in how very high rates of infant death can be understood and have implications for emotional development (i.e., attachment) and household kinship relations.
Research: Child growth; Demography; Diet; Health; Human adaptability; India; Nutrition
- Human Environment Interaction and Sustainability
- human diet and nutrition and the adaptive significance of human dietary behavior; human adaptability, particularly to stressful environments such as high altitude; human health and disease, especially maternal and infant health within an evolutionary framework; demography and determinants of fertility and mortality in human populations
Subject Area(s): Anthropology
- Human diet and nutrition, Human adaptability, Human health and disease, Maternal and infant health, Demography, Fertility and mortality