Last Sunday's New York Times
had an article about the recent evolution of the human body, and how today's generations bear little resemblance to their ancestors that lived as recently as 100 years ago.
The article, "So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn't Even Know You,"
claims (via Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago) that "humans in the industrialized world have undergone 'a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth.'"
A side article, "Living Large & Healthy,"
discusses how America's fear of future obesity-related health epidemics may be blown out of proportion.
"'It is very legitimate to be concerned about levels of overweight and obesity in kids,' said David Williamson, a senior biomedical research scientist at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 'But at the same time, those levels of obesity are overlaid on improvements in health in children, which also affect long-term health and longevity.'
I don't know enough about the history of medicine to speak about the accuracy of the articles, although I do enjoy living in a country that has an almost nonexistent fear of smallpox or polio. I also know that I'm roughly 8 inches taller than my grandmother and 5 inches taller than my mother. At ages 3 and 4, I had two operations on my inner ears and I remember the doctor telling me that if I had been born just 30 years earlier, I'd probably be deaf. I've never forgotten that. Although that hasn't kept me from listening to loud music.
Anyway, I found the articles interesting, so I wanted to share them with you.