Health costs of reproduction are minimal despite high fertility, mortality and subsistence lifestyle

Michael Gurven, Megan Costa, Trumble Ben Trumble, Jonathan Stieglitz, Bret Beheim, Daniel Eid Rodriguez, Paul L. Hooper, Hillard Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Women exhibit greater morbidity than men despite higher life expectancy. An evolutionary life history framework predicts that energy invested in reproduction trades-off against investments in maintenance and survival. Direct costs of reproduction may therefore contribute to higher morbidity, especially for women given their greater direct energetic contributions to reproduction. We explore multiple indicators of somatic condition among Tsimane forager-horticulturalist women (Total Fertility Rate = 9.1; n =592 aged 15-44 years, n = 277 aged 45+). We test whether cumulative live births and the pace of reproduction are associated with nutritional status and immune function using longitudinal data spanning 10 years. Higher parity and faster reproductive pace are associated with lower nutritional status (indicated by weight, body mass index, body fat) in a cross-section, but longitudinal analyses show improvements in women's nutritional status with age. Biomarkers of immune function and anemia vary little with parity or pace of reproduction. Our findings demonstrate that even under energy-limited and infectious conditions, women are buffered from the potential depleting effects of rapid reproduction and compound offspring dependency characteristic of human life histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30056
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 20 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Health Care Costs
Reproduction
Fertility
Life Style
Mortality
Nutritional Status
Parity
Morbidity
Women's Rights
Birth Rate
Live Birth
Life Expectancy
Adipose Tissue
Anemia
Body Mass Index
Biomarkers
Maintenance
Weights and Measures
Costs and Cost Analysis
Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Gurven, M., Costa, M., Ben Trumble, T., Stieglitz, J., Beheim, B., Eid Rodriguez, D., ... Kaplan, H. (2016). Health costs of reproduction are minimal despite high fertility, mortality and subsistence lifestyle. Scientific reports, 6, [30056]. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep30056

Health costs of reproduction are minimal despite high fertility, mortality and subsistence lifestyle. / Gurven, Michael; Costa, Megan; Ben Trumble, Trumble; Stieglitz, Jonathan; Beheim, Bret; Eid Rodriguez, Daniel; Hooper, Paul L.; Kaplan, Hillard.

In: Scientific reports, Vol. 6, 30056, 20.07.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gurven, M, Costa, M, Ben Trumble, T, Stieglitz, J, Beheim, B, Eid Rodriguez, D, Hooper, PL & Kaplan, H 2016, 'Health costs of reproduction are minimal despite high fertility, mortality and subsistence lifestyle', Scientific reports, vol. 6, 30056. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep30056
Gurven, Michael ; Costa, Megan ; Ben Trumble, Trumble ; Stieglitz, Jonathan ; Beheim, Bret ; Eid Rodriguez, Daniel ; Hooper, Paul L. ; Kaplan, Hillard. / Health costs of reproduction are minimal despite high fertility, mortality and subsistence lifestyle. In: Scientific reports. 2016 ; Vol. 6.
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