This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

The 7 Billion Hype Continues

As we approach 7 billion (or did we pass it? Or is it not until next year? Nobody knows for sure), people continue to jump on the bandwagon with stories. Anthropologist Barbara King notes on NPR that one of the more wild of these attempts--the idea that we should all be heading back to the "typical" hunter-gatherer diet:

In a few days, the world's population will reach 7 billion. Only a tiny fraction of this number still makes a living by hunting and gathering, the way all our ancestors did before about 12,000 years ago.
According to a set of claims relentlessly pushed in some books and blogs, as many modern humans as possible should adopt a hunter-gatherer diet. That is, we should eat lean meat and vegetables because our Paleolithic hunting-and-gathering ancestors did. At the same time, we should refuse dairy, grains and sugars because our hunting-and-gathering ancestors didn't eat these items.
But, of course, there is no scientific evidence of such a "typical" diet and, in all events, do we want to go back to the life expectancy of 20 years that these people experienced? I don't think so.

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