The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


Stable isotopes and socioeconomic differences among urban Colombian women: additional insights from 34S

RICHARD L. BENDER1, DARNA L. DUFOUR1, LUCIANO O. VALENZUELA2, THURE E. CERLING2, MATT SPONHEIMER1, JULIO C. REINA3,4 and JAMES R. EHLERINGER2.

1Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 3Department of Pediatrics, Universidad del Valle, 4Centro Medico Imbanaco, Cali, Colombia

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The stable isotope composition of mammalian tissues, such as hair, can indicate the composition and/or geospatial origin of the diet. Previously, we reported that δ13C and δ15N values from hair track socioeconomic status (SES) differences among urban Colombian women, despite a lack of SES differences in long-term indicators of nutritional status (including body mass index, five body circumference measures, and six skinfold measures). Here, we present δ34S values and additional results from the same sample of 38 women from lower SES (n=19) and higher SES (n=19) groups. There is no significant difference in mean δ34S values between the lower SES (5.1 ± 1.1‰) and higher SES (4.6 ± 0.4‰) groups, unlike the previously reported δ13C and δ15N values. However, the δ34S, δ13C, and δ15N values are all significantly more variable within the lower SES group (Levene’s test, p<0.05 in each case). There is a significant negative, but weak, correlation between δ34S values and δ15N values (r2=0.11, p<0.05), but no significant correlation between δ34S values and δ13C values or any of the 12 anthropometric measures. Hence, δ34S values reveal an additional axis of variability within this sample distinct from SES differences, anthropometric measures, and δ13C and δ15N values. The higher variability in δ34S, δ13C, and δ15N values within the lower SES group could reflect higher variability in the isotopic composition or geospatial origin of the diet. Alternatively, the observed differences could reflect variation in the isotopic spacing between diet and tissues resulting from differing dietary quality or nutritional status.

Supported by the University of Colorado Innovative Grant Program and NSF SGER 0707.05.

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