PERCEPTION OF FOOD AND BODY SHAPE AS DIMENSIONS OF WESTERN ACCULTURATION POTENTIALLY LINKED TO OVERWEIGHT IN TARAHUMARA WOMEN OF MEXICO
Ecology of Food and Nutrition
A recent survey in northern Mexico found that 52.8% of adult Tarahumara women were overweight. A process of "de-Indianization" of their diet was hypothesized. The present study aimed at exploring food and body shape perceptions as dimensions contributing to the role that Western acculturation could be playing in increasing overweight in this isolated indigenous population. Data were obtained from structured interviews of a type commonly used in cognitive anthropology. Partial rank ordering of
... otographic series' depicting dishes, food preparation methods and drinks, and constrained pile sorting of photographs portraying Tarahumara women arranged from the thinnest to the fattest were used to assess food and body Financial support for this study was received from InDevelops u-landsfond, Uppsala, Sweden. 194 J. MONÁRREZ-ESPINO ET AL. shape perceptions, respectively. Data analytic techniques employed included cultural consensus, tabu search clustering, and multidimensional scaling. Respondents judged mestizo and Western foods as tastier than traditional foods. Spanish language capacity was linked to preferences for mestizo and Western foods and for fatter body shapes as ideals for beauty, health, and motherhood. Thin-normal women were considered the most industrious. Speaking Spanish emerged as the only clear element of acculturation that could be defined.