Book review – people are out of alignment with the world they inhabit

Gluckman and Hanson, leading medical professors, argue that mankind has demonstrated an amazing ability to adapt to almost any geography, environment and culture. In the last century the rate of societal change has created major problems.

With information from comparative biology, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, medicine and social science the authors have produced an insightful book into how ‘mismatch’ between individuals and society has increased the risk of the disease and social problems.

Three main areas are highlighted:

  • mismatch where children mature faster than society is equipped to accept, the age of puberty may be returning to a younger age set by evolution;
  • mismatch between mankind’s evolved taste for fatty and sugary foods, the current plentiful supply of such foods and  the reduced energy expenditure in westernised societies leading to an obesity epidemic and Diabetes; and the
  • mismatch between increased longevity and the rising incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

The authors do an excellent job of pointing out our world no longer fits our bodies and offer some insight into some of the things that humankind might do to change the situation.