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Jim Bindon

(BA UC Berkeley; MA, PhD Penn State) is a retired biological anthropologist who studies human nutrition, growth and health from the perspective of human adaptability. Focusing on the interactions between biology and culture, he has pursued his research for over 25 years by examining the health repercussions of modernization among Samoans and others. Jim is shown at left studying his first grandchild, Mia Laine, born in 2006. Her younger sister, Ava Marie, was born in 2009 and a surname continuer, Chad, was born in 2011.  The picture in the upper right was taken during a break from survey research in American Samoa in 1976. Professor Bindon has studied a variety of biological outcomes among Samoans such as infant and childhood health and growth, adult obesity and blood pressure, DNA polymorphisms and physique, and chronic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He has related these health outcomes to residence in different communities, diet and activity patterns, education and occupation, and stresss due to changing lifestyles as a result of modernization and migration (see several of the papers listed below for details). He has also conducted similar research on biocultural aspects of health among the Mississippi Choctaw, in an African-American population in Alabama and among hotel workers in Hawaii.  Professor Bindon is a strong advocate of the biocultural approach, frequently belaboring this topic to less sympathetic colleagues. He is convinced of the importance of fieldwork for graduate education and his students have successfully completed research projects in Alabama, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Samoa. For insight into how he got to this point in his career, see Dr. Bindon's essay on how I became an anthropologist.  He enjoys collecting Disney Duck comics, playing guitar (click on the samples to play my mp3s: Blues in A, Candyman, Hesitation Blues, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning), and rereading his collection of Nero Wolfe and Ellery Queen mysteries. Late summer afternoons frequently find him floating or canoing on nearby Lake Tuscaloosa.

Samoan_chief.jpg                  samoa.gif                  Tau_sunset.jpg

Some of Dr. Bindon's instructional websites include:

Professional Activities and Awards - Dr. Bindon was chairman of the Department of Anthropology from1993-1998. He also has served the discipline in several roles including: Executive Program Committee Member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), 1993-1994; AAA Biological Anthropology Section (BAS), Contributing Editor to Anthropology Newsletter, 1986-1989, Secretary-Treasurer, 1991-1993, Executive Committee Member-at-Large, 2003 - 2005; AAA Council on Nutritional Anthropology (now Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition) Vice President and Editor of the CommuNicAtor, 1988-1990; Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1993-1997; Human Biology Association Nominating Committee Member, 1990-1992, Publications Committee Member, 1997-2001, Program Committee Member, 2002-2004. He was also named an inaugural University of Alabama, College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Fellow, 2002-2005. Dr. Bindon won the University of Alabama, National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 2005, and he was named a McNair Scholars Program Fellow in 2006. Dr. Bindon retired from the University of Alabama in 2008 and was elected to emeritus status at that time.  He was elected to the Hall of Merit of George Washington High School of San Francisco (Class of 1965) in 2010. 


View Full CV Here

Contact Dr. Bindon at: jbindon@charter.net

Selected Publications


Soloway L.E., E.W. Demerath, N. Ochs, G.D. James, M.A. Little, J.R. Bindon, and R.M. Garruto. Blood pressure and lifestyle on Saba, Netherlands Antilles. American Journal of Human Biology, 21:319–325. Pdf available by e-mail.


Greywoode, E.P., and J.R. Bindon. A "Notty" situation: An exploration of University of Alabama College students' opinions and attitudes towards a potentially controversial campus civic symbol. The University of Alabama McNair Journal, 8:29-61.  (Available online)


Bindon, J.R. Biocultural Linkages—Cultural Consensus, Cultural Consonance, and Human Biological Research (Review article). Collegium Antropologicum, 31:3-10. Full text pdf available


Bindon, J.R., M.J. Gilliland, W.W. Dressler, and D.E. Crews. A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Obesity and Health in Three Groups of Women: The Mississippi Choctaw, American Samoans, and African Americans. Collegium Antropologicum, 31(1):47-54. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. Box 11.7 Opinion: Thrifty genes in Polynesia? In: Human Evolutionary Genetics: Origins, Peoples & Disease, Jobling M.A., Hurles, M.E, Tyler-Smith, C. New York: Garland Science. p. 362. Full text pdf available


Bindon, J.R. Samoans. In: Ember, M. and Ember, C. (editors). Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World's Cultures, Volume II: Cultures, Kluwer Press, pp. 929-937. Full text pdf available


Bindon, J. R. and V.J. Vitzthum Alternate economic strategies and nutritional anthropometry of women in American Samoa and Highland Bolivia. Social Science & Medicine, 54:1299-1308. Pdf available by e-mail. Full text pdf available


Neggers, Y.H., J.R. Bindon, and W.W. Dressler The relationship of zinc and copper status and lipid levels in African Americans. Biological Trace Element Research, 79(1):1-13.


Dressler, W.W. and J.R. Bindon The Health Consequences of Cultural Consonance: Cultural Dimensions of Lifestyle, Social Support and Arterial Blood Pressure in an African American Community. American Anthropologist, 102:244-260. Pdf available by e-mail.


Dressler, W.W., J.R. Bindon, and Y.R. Neggers Culture, socioeconomic status, and coronary heart disease risk factors in an African American community. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21:527-544. Pdf available by e-mail.


Dressler, W.W., J.R. Bindon, and Y.R. Neggers John Henryism, gender, and arterial blood pressure in an African American community. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60:620-624.


Dressler, W.W. and J.R. Bindon Social status, social context and arterial blood pressure. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 102:55-66.


Bindon, J.R. and P.T. Baker Bergmann's rule and the thrifty genotype. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 104:201-210. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. Coming of age of human adaptation studies in Samoa. In: S.J. Ulijaszek and R.A. Huss-Ashmore (editors). In: Human Adaptability: Past, Present, and Future. Oxford University Press. Pp. 126-156. Pdf available by e-mail.


Bindon, J.R., A.L. Knight, W.W. Dressler, and D.E. Crews Social Context and Psychosocial Influences on Blood Pressure among American Samoans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 103:7-18. Full text pdf available.


Dressler W.W., J.R. Bindon, and M.J. Gilliland. Sociocultural and Behavioral Influences on Health Status among the Mississippi Choctaw. Medical Anthropology, 17:165-180. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. Polynesian responses to modernization: Overweight and obesity in the South Pacific. In: I. de Garine and NJ Pollock (editors). Social Aspects of Obesity. London: Gordon and Breach. Pp. 227-251. Full text pdf available upon request


Bindon, J.R. Some implications of the diet of children in American Samoa. Collegium Anthropologicum, 18:7-15. Full text pdf available.


Crews, D.E., J.R. Bindon, and M.I. Kamboh. Apolipoprotein polymorphisms and phenotypic variability in American Samoans: preliminary data. American Journal of Human Biology, 5:39-48.


Bindon, J. R. and D.E. Crews. Changes in some health status characteristics of American Samoan men: a 12 year follow up study. American Journal of Human Biology, 5:31-38. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. and W.W. Dressler. Social status and growth: Theoretical and methodological considerations. MASCA Research Papers, Vol. 9:61-70. Full text pdf available upon request


Crews, D.E. and J.R. Bindon. Ethnicity as a taxonomic tool in biomedical and biosocial research. Ethnicity and Disease, 1:42-49. Full text pdf available.


Crews, D.E., M.I. Kamboh, J.R. Bindon, and R.E. Ferrell. Genetic studies of human apolipoproteins XVII. Population genetics of apolipoprotein polymorphisms in American Samoa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 84:165-170.


Bindon, J.R. and C.C. Cabrera-Mereb. The health status of infants in American Samoa during the first year of life. American Journal of Human Biology, 2:511-519. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. and C. Cabrera. Infant feeding patterns and growth of infants in American Samoa during the first year of life. Human Biology, 60:80-92. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J.R. Taro or rice, plantation or market: Dietary choice in American Samoa. Food and Foodways, 3:59-78. Full text pdf available upon request


Bindon, J. R. and D.L. Pelletier.  Patterns of growth in weight among infants in a rural Western  Samoa village.  Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 18:135- 143.


Bindon, J. R. and S.M. Zansky. Growth and Morphology (Chapter). In: The Changing Samoans: Behavior and Health in Transition. P.T. Baker, J.M. Hanna, and T.S. Baker (editors). New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 222- 253. Full text pdf available upon request


Pelletier, D.L. and J.R. Bindon.  Patterns of growth in weight and length among American Samoan  infants.  Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 18:145-157.


Bindon, J. R. and P.T. Baker.  Modernization, migration, and obesity among Samoan adults. Annals of Human Biology, 12:67-76.


Bindon, J. R. The influence of infant feeding patterns on growth of children in American Samoa.  Medical Anthropology, 9(2):183-195. Full text pdf available.


Bindon, J. R.  An evaluation of the diet of three groups of Samoan adults: Modernization and dietary adequacy. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 14:105-115.  


Bindon, J. R.  Body build and composition of Samoan children: Associations with infant feeding patterns and infant weight-for-length status.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 63:379-388.  


Leslie, P.W., J.R. Bindon, and P.T. Baker.  Caloric requirements of human populations: a model.  Human Ecology, 12:137-162.


Bindon, J. R.  Breadfruit, banana, beef, and beer: Modernization of the Samoan diet. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 12:49-60.


Hanna, J.M., R. Strauss, B. Itagaki, W. Kwon, R. Stanyon, J.R. Bindon, and S.K. Hong.  Marijuana smoking and cold tolerance in man.  Aviation and Space Environmental Medicine, 47:634-639.