The Pacific islands are home to nine of the top 10 countries for obesity globally. Rates of obesity range from 35% to 50% in the region and one in five children are estimated to be obese.
The obesity epidemic began with locals turning their backs on traditional diets of fresh fish and vegetables and replacing them with highly processed and energy-dense food such as white rice, flour, canned foods, processed meats and soft drinks imported from other countries. Pictured, a supermarket in Tonga.
Once a source of their own food, fishermen are today selling their catch to buy large quantities of processed and canned foods, including canned tuna.
Increasingly sedentary lifestyles have aided the rise in obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for conditions including type II diabetes and diabetes rates have risen dramatically in the region, with almost half of the population diabetic in the Marshall Islands.