Trade policy and obesity prevention: challenges and innovation in the Pacific Islands
Article first published online: 23 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Obesity Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International Association for the Study of Obesity.
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Special Issue: Program and Policy Options for Preventing Obesity in the Low, Middle, and Transitional Income Countries
Volume 14, Issue Supplement S2, pages 150–158, November 2013
How to Cite
Snowdon, W. and Thow, A. M. (2013), Trade policy and obesity prevention: challenges and innovation in the Pacific Islands. Obesity Reviews, 14: 150–158. doi: 10.1111/obr.12090
- Issue published online: 23 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 23 OCT 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 9 SEP 2013 06:45AM EST
- Manuscript Received: 14 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 AUG 2013
- Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center
- University of North Carolina Nutrition Transition Program
- International Development Research Center, Canada
- Food policy;
- Pacific Islands;
The Pacific Island countries experience some of the highest rates of obesity in the world in part due to substantial dietary changes that mirror changes in the food supply in the region. Economic and political ties, donor aid, and trade links are key drivers of the changing availability and accessibility of processed and imported foods. Pacific Island countries have been innovative in developing trade-related policy approaches to create a less obesogenic food environment. Taxation-based approaches that affect pricing in the region include increased import and excise tariffs on sugared beverages and other high-sugar products, monosodium glutamate, and palm oil and lowered tariffs on fruits and vegetables. Other approaches highlight some higher-fat products through labeling and controlling the supply of high-fat meats. The bans on high-fat turkey tails and mutton flaps highlight the politics, trade agreements and donor influences that can be significant barriers to the pursuit of policy options. Countries that are not signatories to trade agreements may have more policy space for innovative action. However, potential effectiveness and practicality require consideration. The health sector's active engagement in the negotiation of trade agreements is a key way to support healthier trade in the region.