Childhood Dietary Quality Predicts Adult Facial Fluctuating Asymmetry in Contemporary New Mexicans

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Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in adults is thought to reflect specific types of developmental stress. If true, adult FA may be a proxy for developmental stress in past as well as current populations. To date, studies of the link between development and adult FA have produced ambiguous results due to insufficient measurement data for childhood environments. This study seeks to overcome this limitation using a structural equation modeling approach to evaluate the relationship between 29 measures of developmental environments and precise measures of adult FA. Sociodemographic information and 3D facial photographs were collected from 80 adult New Mexicans. Facial FA was measured from the photographs using geometric morphometric analysis of 12 facial landmarks. Each participant responded to a questionnaire addressing the developmental environment, including childhood home environment, family SES, health, and dietary quality. We used structural equation models to examine predictive relationships between latent variables constructed from questionnaire responses and adult facial FA. Childhood dietary quality was negatively associated with adult FA scores, meaning that poorer diets predict higher FA (standardized path coefficient -0.174,