Lifestyle change and nutritional status in Kimberley aborigines

Lifestyle change and nutritional status in Kimberley aborigines Journal Article

Australian Aboriginal Studies

  • Author(s): O'Dea, K, Naughton, JM, Sinclair, AJ, Rabuco, L, Smith, RM
  • Published: 1987
  • ISBN: 0729-4352

Abstract: All studies published to date indicate that urban or non-traditionally living Aborigines have marginal to low levels of serum folate, B-group vitamins and vitamin C (Kamien et al, 1974; Kamien et al, 1975; Davis et al, 1975). In addition, low serum zinc and iron levels together with high copper levels have been reported in Kimberley Aboriginal communities, in association with high frequencies of intestinal parasitic infections (Holt et al, 1980; Cheek et al 1982). To our knowledge there is no data available on levels of vitamins, trace metals and minerals in traditionally-living Aborigines. Analysis of bushfoods reveals them to be rich sources of many vitamins and minerals (Brand et al, 1983; Cherikoff et al, 1985; Brand et al, 1985; Brand and Cherikoff, 1985; Brand et al, 1982) and it is most unlikely that any major deficiencies of these nutrients would have been evident in traditionally-living Aborigines. A s part of a larger study on the relationship between lifestyle change and type 2 diabetes in Kimberley Aborigines the results of which have been published elsewhere (OT>ea, 1984; O'Dea and Sindair, 1985), we measured plasma levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folic acid, plasma and hair zinc and the activity of plasma alkaline phosphatase (a zinc-dependent enzyme) in a group of middle-aged, westernized Aborigines (diabetic and normal) before and after they reverted to living as traditional hunter-gatherers for a 7 week period. In addition, we examined the possibility that liver may have served as a source of dietary vitamin C for Aborigines traditionally and thereby prevented scurvy during those times of the year when very Utile vegetable food was available. Vitamin C is known to be unstable in meat and blood. However, the data presented below show that in liver it is not destroyed by cooking.

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O'Dea, K, Naughton, JM, Sinclair, AJ, Rabuco, L, Smith, RM, 1987, Lifestyle change and nutritional status in Kimberley aborigines, Journal Article, viewed 01 December 2021,

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