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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Ancient Genes in the Land of Plenty

Instructor(s): Paul Arcerio, Associate Professor of Exercise Science

We have inherited genes dating to the late Paleolithic period (>10,000 yrs ago) that evolved to support high levels of daily physical activity and a nutrient dense, high-fiber, low-fat food intake. So, why is the modern-day American lifestyle so dangerous and preventing us from achieving optimal health? We will study this evolutionary collision of our ancient genes with the current state of relative inactivity and poor nutrition, and how this collision results in the epidemic of obesity. With this knowledge, we will explore the consequences of being considered one of the most technologically sophisticated societies in the world, yet the leader among lifestyle related death and chronic disease. Why does this paradox exist? Why are the healthiest cultures of the world immune to these chronic diseases until they adopt our American lifestyle?

Students will analyze strategies and perform various physical activity and nutrition experiences to understand what it means to attain optimal health.

Course Offered