Biological anthropologists have been contributing to what is now referred to as evolutionary medicine for more than a half century, although the phrase itself began to be widely used only in the early 1990s. Three topics in which anthropological contributions have been especially significant include nutrition, reproductive health, and chronic disease. A major focus in nutrition and reproduction is the health consequences of evolved biology in the context of contemporary diets, lifestyles, and contraceptive practices seen in industrialized nations. Contributions from anthropology include efforts to assess and redefine the concept of “normal” in health indicators, emphasis on developmental processes in addition to proximate and ultimate forces affecting health, and enhancement of understanding of contemporary health disparities. Evolutionary medicine is a highly interdisciplinary field, and anthropologists have played important roles in directing attention not only to evolutionary processes but also to sociocultural and sociopolitical effects on human health.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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