An Exploration of Gardens in Maycoba, Mexico: Change in the Environment of a Population Genetically Prone to Diabetes

By R. Cruz Begay, Lisa S. Chaudhari, Julian Esparza-Romero, Rene Urquidez Romero and Leslie O. Schulz.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Gardens are an important part of the environment as they play multiple roles and are central to the lifestyle and economy of many communities. The investigators use qualitative methods to explore patterns and perceptions about changes in gardening and cultivation in the community of Maycoba, Mexico. Maycoba is home to a large community of Pima Indians, an Indigenous population genetically prone to diabetes. Pima Indians living in the United States have been shown to have an extremely high prevalence of diabetes, but the genetically comparable Pimas in Maycoba, Mexico, were found to have little diabetes in the early 1990s. The authors examine home gardens and other cultivation in the area as an element of a changing environment and lifestyle during the past 15 years. Methods include interviews and focus groups. Preliminary findings are presented in this paper.

Keywords: Pima Indians in Mexico, Diabetes, Indigenous Women, Home Gardens, Lifestyle

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.89-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.563MB).

Dr. R. Cruz Begay

Assistant Professor, Health Sciences Department, College of Health and Human Services, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

R. Cruz Begay is an assistant professor in the Health Sciences Department at Northern Arizona University. She is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona and has completed MPH and DrPH degrees in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Before her academic career, she worked for the Indian Health Service and the Navajo Nation in rural communities on the Navajo Reservation and in a community health center in Arizona. Dr. Begay has taught courses in rural health, sociocultural and behavioral aspects of public health, health disparities, health principles, and methods of community health promotion. She is currently pursuing research about diabetes in an indigenous population in the USA and Mexico. Her interests are in the environmental influences on the development of type 2 diabetes and other health disparities.

Dr. Lisa S. Chaudhari

Project Director, College of Health and Human Services, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Lisa Chaudhari is trained in biocultural anthropology with an interdisciplinary focus stemming from her earlier training in ecology and geography. She recently completed a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and her Ph.D. in the environmental and ecological anthropology program from the University of Georgia. Her research interests include health, migration, urban, multicultural and transnational studies, ethnoecology, GIS, biocultural and applied anthropology. She has conducted research projects with various communities in the United States, several countries in Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Some of her garden related projects include ethnobotanical research comparing elder knowledge and practices between two Gullah-Geechee island communities off the Southeast coast of the US, and a transnational ethnohealth project between Trinidadians and Tobagonians living in Atlanta, Georgia and their family and friends living back home.

Dr. Julian Esparza-Romero

Centro de Investigacion en Alimentacion y Desarrollo, A.C., Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

Rene Urquidez Romero

Centro de Investigacion en Alimentacion y Desarrollo, A.C., Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

Dr. Leslie O. Schulz

Executive Dean, College of Health and Human Services, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Dr. Leslie Schulz is the Executive Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She received her doctoral degree in nutritional biochemistry and has been involved in academia and diabetes research for thirty years. She is the principal investigator of this research project.