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Little, Michael A.; Leslie, Paul W.; & Campbell, Kenneth L. (1992). Energy Reserves and Parity of Nomadic and Settled Turkana Women. American Journal of Human Biology, 4(6), 729-738.


Members of the Turkana tribe include settled and nomadic peoples who reside in the southern part of Turkana District in the semiarid region of northwest Kenya. Nomadic Ngisonyoka Turkana keep livestock (camels, cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys), subsist principally on livestock products, and move camps frequently in search of forage for the livestock; settled Turkana cultivate foods along the principal rivers. Both nomadic and settled Turkana are subject to limited food resources on seasonal and long-term bases. Protein from meat, blood, and milk is sufficient in the diet, but food energy is limited, as are body fat reserves. Previous work has documented a decline in maternal adiposity with age in a large sample of the relatively lean nomadic women, and a negative association of fat stores with parity in a smaller sample of nomadic women. The problem of maternal depletion of fat energy reserves as a function of female reproductive history is explored in this study through anthropometry in a relatively large sample (N = 312) of nomadic and settled women. Both nomadic and settled women displayed some parity-related losses in fat stores. The relationship was stronger in the nomads, even after controlling for age.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Little, Michael A.
Leslie, Paul W.
Campbell, Kenneth L.