6 Jul 2016

Professor says imported food disrupted Samoan lifestyle

2:13 pm on 6 July 2016

A healthcare researcher from the USA says there are a number of factors contributing to high rates of diabetes in the Pacific.

Professor Stephen McGarvey from Brown University studied type 2 diabetes in American Samoa and Samoa.

He said the introduction of carbohydrate rich foods from Australia, New Zealand and America disrupted the traditional lifestyle.

Brown University's Professor Stephen McGarvey

Brown University's Professor Stephen McGarvey Photo: Brown University

"Household income was increased because migrant samoans were sending money back home," Professor McGarvey said.

"They don't have to physically work as long or as hard, in the plantation, outside, in the reef or in the deeper ocean. You had this combination of not enough calories being burnt, an increase in calories alot of it from not very high quality nutritional food"

Professor McGarvey said it was now a case of looking at awareness, and trying to improve the quality of life for those with the disease.