Barbara Ann Piperata

Barbara Ann Piperata

Barbara Ann Piperata

Department of Anthropology

4054 Smith Laboratory

My research applies life history theory and takes a bio-cultural approach in understanding human ecology, reproduction and nutrition. All my research to date has been conducted in Latin America, with a particular focus on rural Amazonian populations. My recent research focused on human reproductive energetics among rural Amazonian women and sought to understand how women in this environment accommodated the additional energy demands of lactation. Taking a bio-cultural perspective, I am interested in the interplay between cultural beliefs and practices, human reproductive strategies and health outcomes. I am currently beginning a new research project among Quilombo populations in southern Brazil and rural Amazonian populations focused on the nutrition transition and the relationship between changes in economic strategies, work loads, dietary changes and overall nutritional status, including the concurrence of overweight/obesity and underweight in the same household. I plan to extent my research on the nutrition transition to studies of migrant and refugee populations in the United States in the future.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles - Published

  • Vercellotti G, Piperata BA. 2012. The use of biocultural data in interpreting sex differences in body proportions among rural Amazonians. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147:113-127.
  • Wilson W, Bulkan J, Piperata B, Hicks K, Ehlers P. 2011. Nutritional status of Makushi Amerindian Children and Adolescents of Guyana. Annals of Human Biology, DOI: 10.3109/03014460.2011.588248.
  • Piperata BA, Spence JE, da Gloria P, Hubbe M. 2011. The nutrition transition in Amazonia: Rapid economic change and its impact on growth and development in Ribeirinhos. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 146:1-13
  • Piperata BA, Ivanova SA, da Gloria P, Veiga G, Polsky A, Spence JE, Murrieta RSS. 2011. Nutrition in transition: dietary patterns of rural Amazonian women during a period of economic change. American Journal of Human Biology, 23:458-469.
  • Piperata BA, Gooden Mattern L. 2011. Breastfeeding structure and women’s work in the Brazilian Amazon. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 144:226-237.
  • Piperata BA. 2009. Variation in maternal strategies during lactation: the role of the biosocial context. American Journal of Human Biology, 21:817-827.
  • Piperata BA. 2008. Forty days and forty nights: A biocultural perspective on postpartum practices in the Amazon. Social Science and Medicine,67:1094-1103.
  • Dufour DL, Piperata BA. 2008. Energy expenditure among farmers in developing countries: What do we know? American Journal of Human Biology 20:249-258.
  • Piperata BA. 2007. The nutritional status of Ribeirinhos in Brazil and the nutrition transition.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133:868-878.
  • Piperata BA, Dufour DL. 2007. Diet, energy expenditure and body composition of lactating Ribeirinha women in the Brazilian Amazon.American Journal of Human Biology 19:722-34.
  • Dufour DL and Piperata BA. 2004. Rural-to-urban migration in Latin America: An update and thoughts on the model. American Journal of HumanBiology, 16:395-404. 
  • Piperata BA, Dufour DL, Reina JC, Spurr GB. 2001. Anthropometric characteristics of pregnant women in Cali, Colombia and their relation to infant birth weight. American Journal of Human Biology 14:29-38.


Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • Piperata BA. 1995. La prospeccion Del Sitio San Jose Robleto, San Marcos, Carazo, Nicaragua. In: Lange FW, editor. Descubriendo Las Huellas De Nuestros Antepasados. Managua: Museo Nacional de Nicaragua. p 61-69.
  • Piperata BA and Kokaly RF. 1995. Sitio con Petroglifos en San Marcos, Sitio N-CA-4. In Lange FW, editor. Descubriendo Las Huellas De Nuestros Antepasados. Managua: Museo Nacional de Nicaragua. p 83-90.

 Manuscripts in Press 

  • Wilson W, Bulkan J, Piperata B, Hicks K, Ehlers P. Changes in height among the Makushi Amerindian adults of Guyana between 1920 and 1980 In: Silva H and Forline L, editors. Examining Amazonia’s past, present and future from a biocultural perspective: Engaging perspectives of health, environment and nutrition. Springer. In press. Expected publication – January 2012.