Globalization has greatly changed consumption habits and traditions in many regions of the world. Our planet is becoming very homogenized, and we can see that in the big cities, where we see the same stores regardless of whether you are in Barcelona or Kuala Lumpur, and in the dishes we eat every day. When it comes to world food, a worrying yet interesting phenomenon has occurred in the Pacific Islands.
What is happening with obesity in the Pacific Islands?
These remote islands, normally unknown and ignored by the majority of the world’s population, have been highlighted in recent times as they are by far the countries with the highest percentage of obese people in the world. According to Forbes, they made up the top seven on the list of heaviest countries in the last decade, and eight of the top ten. In all these cases, more than 70% of citizens aged 15 and over are obese.
To give some examples:
- The island country of Nauru is the most obese in the world with obesity affecting 61.0% of the adult population, according to the most recent data available from the World Health Organization (WHO). Even though it’s true that obesity is seen as a sign of wealth in Nauru, this does not detract from the concern of this data. 31% of Nauruans are diabetic.
- In Fiji, some research indicates that the rise in health problems correlates with the increase in imports of processed food
In past centuries, missionaries and colonial visitors of the Pacific Islands influenced local food habits. European colonial powers introduced a number of foods to the native people to mitigate impacts of drought and famine and add variety to their diet.
There are also cultural factors, including poor public education on diets, exercise or health, or that imported foods have been given higher social status than local, healthier foods.
Also, historically a large body size was associated with wealth, power and beauty. Apart from this, the Pacific Islander’s sedentary lifestyle also contributed to rising obesity rates.
The already high amount of imported foods high in salt and fat keeps increasing, and much of their local diet consists of processed and calorie-dense imported food such as spam or corned beef, rather than traditional fresh fish, fruit and vegetables.
How OFC can help mitigate this problem
At Open Food Chain, the main objective is and has always been healthy food for a healthy planet.
With our technology, we seek to maximize the transparency and traceability of all processes in order to promote fair trade, quality of food, and efficiency of supply chains. Especially in locations as remote as the Pacific Islands, supply chains suffer from slow processes, and the quality of the food that arrives (usually processed) is not optimal.
Technology can and should be a great ally for these countries to receive quality goods, and at OFC our main goal is to improve supply chains around the world. We have several projects already underway, such as in the juice and cacao industry, as well as in the fish industry. We are also part of the Nourish Movement, which is working on health through food and sustainability.
The Open Food Chain Foundation is looking for situations like this where blockchain implementations can have a big positive effort. At the end of 2023, we will have a new edition of StrikeTwo, in which we will talk about different relevant topics in the agrifood world. The call for track owners is still open, so if you consider that a very relevant topic should be discussed, please send us an email to email@example.com.