200537 Trade and nutrition transition: Pathways and processes in the Pacific

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:50 PM

Anne Marie Thow , School of Public Health, University of Sydney, University of Sydney, Australia
Pacific Island countries have some of the highest rates of obesity and chronic disease in the world. Prevention is high on the agenda, with multi-faceted interventions being developed across the region to improve diet and physical activity. Recommendations from the WHO and other bodies stress the importance of addressing upstream drivers of nutritional change, including trade and economic policy, which shape the food environment, particularly in terms of food availability and price. However, there is little empirical evidence for the impact of trade on diets, or the mechanisms through which this occurs. For example, while there has been considerable speculation regarding the role of trade in changing dietary patterns in the Pacific, there has been little analysis of the connection between the relatively recent opening of these economies and concurrent significant dietary changes. This study uses descriptive time series analysis to investigate the relationship between dietary change, food availability and trade policy in Fiji. Fiji has experienced dramatic increases in the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases over the past 50 years. Preliminary findings suggest that economic and trade openness has increased over the same period. These events have been associated with rising food imports and agricultural changes, and also investment by the food industry in Fiji. The relationship between trade and diet is complicated by a wide variety of intermediary factors, including concurrent social, political and demographic change, which must be factored in to any interventions.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of trade policy on measures of population nutrition Analyze mechanisms through which this impact occurs

Keywords: Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is the topic of my PhD research, to be completed in the next year.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.