The transformation of ecosystems implies changes in all the structural components, including the actual biology of the populations, a frequently forgotten fact which deducts interpretative quality from the results of any health diagnosis of a population. Changes in biology of women can result directly from nutritional changes (affecting menarche, height, and so on), or from behavioural changes related to the patterns of reproduction.
The comparison between Moroccan and Spanish women is used to evaluate the extent and the consequences of changing reproductive patterns, which among Western women have coincided with a progressive medical intervention in the biology of reproduction. As evolutionary ecologists, we may wonder how much of this medicalisation is necessary, because it is difficult to imagine that such an important biological function as reproduction does not have regulatory mechanisms to deal with environmental change. The possibility that the degree of environmental change could have affected the reproductive biology of women in such a way as to result in large mal-adaptations is suggested, as it must not be forgotten that the biology of reproduction was selected in biological and environmental circumstances completely different from the ones now prevailing in Western populations. If the degree of environmental change has had this adverse effect, it is time to analyse the problem globally and discuss possible solutions, monitoring the biological and behavioural proximates of fertility, which could reduce the risk of suffering the dysfunctions and symptoms mentioned.
Since the publication of the Lalonde report in 1974 on the health of Canadians, increasing efforts have been made to locate an understanding of health and disease in an ecological frame of reference. In response to this, the WHO launched an ambitious programme with two major objectives: the reduction of inequalities in health, both within and between populations, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Regional targets and indicators by which to measure their progress were defined (WHO, 1985). The priorities for necessary research based on these goals