Diet, food supply and obesity in the Pacific.
The objective of this paper is to review documented evidence and examine the relationships between the food supply, dietary patterns and obesity in Pacific countries. Obesity and consumption of imported foods seems to be an urban phenomenon in the Pacific. A suitable definition for a recommended proportion of fat in a national diet has been established. Before European contact, the food behaviour of the people of the Pacific region may have remained the same for millennia. The main staples were root crops. Upon European contact, Pacific people were described as strong, muscular and mostly in good health. The leaders and ruling classes appeared to be obese and high value was placed on fatty foods. Daily food intake consisted of large quantities of starchy roots supplemented with leaves, fish, coconuts and fruits. (excerpt)