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University of Colorado at Boulder

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change

Abstract

With globalization and Samoa’s entrance into the global economy imported and processed foods, which are high in fat, sugar, and sodium, are increasingly available for consumption. Diet transition, the change in diet from one high in local and traditional foods to one high in imported processed foods, began in Samoa post-World War II, however, the rate of diet change has increased rapidly in the past three decades. The change in diet has led to increased prevalence of obesity, other risk factors, and non-communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) include cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and cancer. This study looks at what factors have influenced diet transition; the ramifications of diet change on health; how trade policy is impacting health; and what is being done by various organizations and ministries to increase nutrition and health awareness. Eight interviews were conducted with experts in the fields of nutrition, medicine, trade policy, and development. Three surveys were conducted in the Apia area and in Lotofaga, Samoa pertaining to what food people were regularly purchasing; how often fruits and vegetables were eaten; and perspectives on diet and health. Secondary sources were used in complement with interview and survey information. While, there is increasing public awareness of the impacts of poor diet on health, rates of obesity and NCDs continue to increase in Samoa. This study suggests that the public is aware of the impacts of food on health. However, in a survey conducted in Apia, consumption of fruits, 30% replying every day, and vegetables, 40%, are not consumed at the rates recommended by nutritionist and health care providers.

Disciplines

Health Policy | International and Community Nutrition | Nutrition

 

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