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Durham e-Theses
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Does lifestyle matter?: growth and Cortisol as measures of well-being in Ethiopian children

Dobrowolska, Hannah (2000) Does lifestyle matter?: growth and Cortisol as measures of well-being in Ethiopian children. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Well-being, in terms of anthropometry and salivary Cortisol, was compared in four groups of eighty children in Addis Ababa living markedly different lifestyles. The groups were street living children who lived and worked on the street, street working children who worked on the street while residing with their families, poor non street children who lived in impoverished urban households but did not work on the streets and middle class children who attended a private school. Results show middle class children to have better growth status than each of the three less privileged groups. More interestingly street working children are less underweight and wasted, and have higher body fat levels and mid upper arm circumference, than poor non street children. Street living children have higher body fat level than poor non street children, but do not differ on other measures. On no anthropometric measure are there differences between street living and street working children. In all groups girls showed better growth status than boys. No anthropometric measure correlates with Cortisol data. Mean Cortisol levels were found to be higher in street working and poor non street compared to street living and middle class children. Afternoon coefficient of variation was lower in street working children than each other group, though there were no differences between lifestyle groups for morning Cortisol variation. Cortisol profiles over six days are presented and discussed in relation to daily behaviour; the difficulty of interpreting these results is highlighted. The potential role of hormones in mediating between environment and lifestyle, and between health, well-being and behaviour, is exciting. This study makes an initial contribution to such work.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:2000
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:48

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