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Journal articles

Alimentation et corpulence en Polynésie française

Abstract : Introduction – The study aimed to assess cultural, social and economic factors related to the development of obesity and to describe body shape representations among adults in French Polynesia. Method – Cross-sectional survey in a representative sample of 1,006 subjects aged 16 and above in the Society Islands, using a standardized questionnaire during face-to-face interviews at the subjects’ home. The non-random quota sampling was used. The data collection included a qualitative assessment on the esthetic patterns, the individual weight history and the social representations of food and eating among Polynesians, as well as a quantitative approach with anthropometric measurements to evaluate the prevalence of obesity. Results – High prevalence rates of obesity (39%) and of overweight (30%) were found. A comparison of prevalence obtained by the definition of the World Health Organization or the South Pacific Commission shows differences in the way of approaching the issue of obesity from a public health perspective. For almost half of the interviewees, the perception of their corpulence was in discrepancy with their actual BMI. Fat body shapes, still valued by the individuals over 60 years, seemed to substitute for the ideal slim body-shape, predominant pattern among young people. It appears that two dietary models were used alternately on weekdays and on weekends: one with two meals per day (Polynesian traditional system) and the other with three meals (rather occidental standard). The mix of these two models, increasing the confusion of standards, would be a factor of obesity among Polynesians. Inconsistent representations related to starchy foods were observed. If they hold a major place in social representations of the “genuine Polynesian eating” (29% of the interviewees) and of essential nutrients for life (21%), starchy foods are also considered to be the most fattening foods (26%) before sugary and fatty foods
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 3:16:28 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 3:59:46 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-03480059, version 1



y Mou, N Cerf, François Beck. Alimentation et corpulence en Polynésie française. Bulletin Epidémiologique Hebdomadaire - BEH, Saint-Maurice (Val de Marne) : Institut de veille sanitaire, 2009, pp.515-520. ⟨hal-03480059⟩



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