3 Jun 2004

Imported food fingered as cause of high Pacific obesity rates

8:30 pm on 3 June 2004

Latest figures from the International Obesity Task Force suggest the Pacific Islands people are most susceptible to obesity.

Nauru tops the list, with 80-point-two per cent of males classified on the body mass index scale as obese.

Doctor Tim Gill, the chairman of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity, says in most developed countries, poorer people are the most susceptible to obesity.

Doctor Gill says this is because cheap foods are comprised of cheaper components like fat and sugar.

He says this is the situation in most Pacific Islands.

"They've moved away from their traditional diets, based on fish and fruit and vegetables, to one which is, in some cases, almost totally reliant on imported food, and a lot of these imported foods are actually canned foods or cheap cuts of meat."

Doctor Tim Gill.