Elizabeth Palmer DeVine Koselka

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Northwestern U.

Grant number

Gr. 10013

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Koselka, Elizabeth (Northwestern U.) "Social hierarchies of diet and their effects on adolescent health in Spain"

As evidence accrues on the negative health effects of an “Americanized” diet, emerging results suggest that diet change processes are ongoing and unpredictable. However, to date much of the biocultural work on diet focused on populations in transition, leaving a gap in our understanding about diet changes occurring where global markets already have a firm foothold. Studies of diet change among immigrant communities in Western countries provide important perspective for this research by elucidating how a social pressure to acculturate initiates diet change and precipitates metabolic decline. Immigrant youth are especially sensitive to issues of social status because their age range includes adolescence — a critical development period characterized by augmented responsiveness to social pressure and increased biological plasticity. Therefore, this study uses mixed-methods to evaluate the impact of social status on eating habits and metabolic health among immigrant teenagers in Spain. We will recruit 200 participants (15-19 years) from the ongoing Longitudinal Studies of Immigrant Families Project (PELFI) in Alicante and Barcelona. By pairing ethnographic data on the social status of particular diet practices with standardized dietary intake and metabolic health assessments, the project is equipped to measure how social status systems influence diet practice and impact human biological variation.