Promoting healthy eating through a return to traditional food

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How can we promote healthy eating habits using behavioral science?

Pacific Island Nations are facing a crisis of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – chronic diseases which are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors. NCDs are the leading cause of mortality in the region, accounting for 75% of deaths1 . Unhealthy diets in particular have been recognized as a risk factor for high rates of obesity. Residents of the Pacific Island Nations have some of the highest rates of obesity in the world, with 92.9% and 80.7% of adults in Nauru and Kiribati regions being overweight, respectively.


Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) is a powerful tool that can be used to increase consumption of indigenous foods. Moreover, studies have shown that television and other edutainment work well as tools for SBCC. Armed with this knowledge, several health awareness programs have been conducted in the Pacific but have not had the desired effect on changing eating habits. AECOM’s Pacific Island Food Revolution (PIFR) intends to use a unique approach to nudge viewers to eat healthier. In contrast to health message-related initiatives, PIFR is a celebration of Pacific Island cuisine, culture and people in a spirit of kindness presented in the format of a reality cooking show.

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