Doctoral Dissertation Research: Hydration Strategies, Nutrition, and Health During Lifestyle Transitions

Project: Research project

Project Details


The search for safe water remains an important challenge in the 21st century as more than 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water. Globally, many populations are experiencing rapid economic and environmental change, including many in the South American Amazon region. While the social sciences emphasize that lifestyle transitions, or changes to dietary, economic, and cultural activities, affect health, disease patterns, and body composition, the role of dietary water use has been widely overlooked during these transitions. Hydration strategies, or how people meet their daily dietary water needs through a full spectrum of foods and liquids, may serve as dietary adaptations that balance nutrition and risk of infection. Lifestyle transitions may create a mismatch between hydration strategies and the nutritional landscape. This research will explain how hydration strategies are related to variation in hydration levels, pathogen exposure, and nutritional status among Tsimane' Amerindians in lowland Bolivia, where access to clean water is scarce.

This study by doctoral candidate Asher Rosinger (University of Georgia), under the guidance of Dr. Susan Tanner, will collect dietary, anthropometric, ethnographic, and biological biomarker data to address the following aims: 1) Determine if differences in hydration strategies are associated with variation in hydration levels, water-related diseases and immune activation, and body composition; 2) Investigate how market participation is related to variation in hydration strategies; and 3) Document how people without access to clean water interact with their environment to meet their daily water needs.

Responses to lifestyle transitions are critical to understand because they provide insight into past and future trends of human variation in nutrition and health. Because dietary hydration sources can expose people to pathogens but also provide calories, this research will provide insight into both diarrheal prevalence and the recent pattern of over-nutrition in Amazonia, information which can guide global health interventions. This study will inform water intake recommendations, which rely almost exclusively on data from industrialized countries. In addition to supporting the training and professional development of a US doctoral student, the project's results will be discussed with communities, turned into research posters to be disseminated to Tsimane' schools, and published in academic journals.

Effective start/end date9/15/138/31/14


  • National Science Foundation: $15,013.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.