[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The island state of Pohnpei, Micronesia, has experienced much change in diet and lifestyle since the 1970s. Serious problems of micronutrient deficiencies and non-communicable disease such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer have emerged, following the neglect of traditional local foods and the shift to rice and imported processed foods. An awareness campaign on the benefits of local food, especially carotenoid-rich bananas for nutrition, is the subject of this chapter. A community, inter-agency, participatory programme was implemented focused on raising awareness on island food production and consumption. Messages were shared on horticulture, cooking, food processing and conservation through mass media, posters, print materials, photography, national postal stamps, workshops, displays, youth clubs, farmers' fairs, competitions, e-mail and slogans: 'Go Yellow' and 'Let's Go Local'. Research was undertaken in food analysis, genebank collections and community case studies as part of a global health project. As yellow-fleshed carotenoid-rich foods (banana, taro, pandanus and breadfruit varieties) were identified and promoted, banana and taro consumption increased as did the number of the varieties consumed. Carotenoid-rich banana varieties not previously marketed such as Karat, Utin Iap and Daiwang became popular. Foods ready for consumption using local banana and taro varieties appeared in the markets where these had not been sold previously. The awareness campaign stimulated great interest in Pohnpei and throughout the region with invitations to present at international meetings and 'Go Local' workshops outside Pohnpei. It was proclaimed as an awareness success and consideration should be given to applying this approach to other Pacific Islands.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a summary of Pohnpei, Federated States Micronesia's involvement in a global health study focused on documenting traditional food systems in different parts of the world and providing evidence that local resources are critical for food security, nutrition and health. The Pohnpei study was based in Mand Community, Madolenihmw. The study found that there was a great diversity of foods locally available (381 food items documented), but these were underused. Overweight, obesity, diabetes, and vitamin A deficiency were identified as serious problems. Interventions included community meetings, school activities, and agriculture workshops, cooking classes, charcoal oven development, weight loss and planting competitions, poster campaigns and other relevant mass media. Significant dietary improvements were achieved following the intervention efforts, as well as positive changes in attitude towards local food including: decrease in average daily rice consumption from 846 g/person in 2005 to 544 g/person in 2007 (p = 0.0002); increase in provitamin A carotenoid intake from 227 microg/person in 2005 to 475 microg/person in 2007 (p = 0.02); increased frequency of consumption of local banana (53%), giant swamp taro (476%), local vegetables (130%); and increased dietary diversity (4.8 local food groups consumed in 2005 to 5.5 in 2007). Another positive outcome in Pohnpei was the popularization of the slogan "Let's Go Local."
Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · Pacific health dialog: a publication of the Pacific Basin Officers Training Program and the Fiji School of Medicine