Diet in an urban Papua New Guinea population with high levels of cardiovascular risk factors

Allison M. Hodge, Janice Montgomery, Gary K. Dowse, Barnabas Mavo, Tahlia Watt, Michael P. Alpers, Paul Z. Zimmet

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Usual food consumption patterns and nutrient intakes were estimated by food frequency questionnaire in the urban Wanigela people of Koki in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG). This group is characterised by a high prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dietary data were available for 285 subjects, 38% of subjects attending a larger health survey: the study group was considered representative of the Koki population. Mean energy intakes, 11.5 mJ in men and 10.5 mJ in women, were in excess of estimated requirements, especially in women. Fat intake was predominantly saturated and although the percentage contribution was relatively low, the absolute intake was close to the level estimated for individuals consuming the recommended proportion of fat at an energy intake to maintain a healthy weight. Levels of body mass index (BMI), waist/hip ratio (WHR), fasting and 2-hour glucose and insulin, triglycerides, cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and modernity score were not different across tertiles of dietary fat content, energy intake or energy-adjusted fat intake in men, but modernity score tended to increase with fat intake in women. Fibre intake was surprisingly low given the relative importance of local starchy staples which contributed to a high intake of total and complex carbohydrate. Cooking bananas and white rice were the main sources of energy and carbohydrate, fresh fish was the main protein source, and most of the fat in the diet was from coconut products, representing a diet transitional between a traditional coastal diet and a modern western diet. With continuing modernization and increasing dependence on imported foods it seems likely that many communities in PNG will experience increases in the prevalence of NIDDM and CVD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages14
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Food consumption
  • Nutrient intake
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Urban

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