Photo: Dr. Aga, (preceptor; Emma Apatu, Kasie Richards (East Tennessee State DrPH candidate); Aufa'i Areta, Associate Director/Acting Extension Program Coordinator)
Talofa (greetings)! I arrived in American Samoa almost a week ago, and have fallen in love with the Samoan culture. I have found the people to be very friendly, the fresh foods are delicious, and the oceanic and mountainous views to be postcard worthy.
I have also been fascinated by the beauty of the traditional Samoan garb. It is very common to find men wearing Lava Lavas which is a cloth like wrap skirt, and the women to be clad in beautifully printed dresses complimented by a flower in their hair.
As I witness the beauty of this island, I have also taken note of the obesity problem. It baffles me to see people of an island that has a plethora of nutritious food to have one of the world’s highest obesity rates.
The World Health Organization attributes American Samoan’s obesity problem on the fact that a great number of the people have stopped eating traditional foods and have adapted diets rich in processed foods. A few days ago, I talked to some of the local people, and they also agree that a great part of the obesity problem is due to poor diet choices.
Today I met with my field experience preceptors Dr. Aga and Aufa'I Areta, at the American Samoan community college. The meeting today was very productive and Kasie and I will meet with Dr. Aga and Aufa’I Areta who is the Associate Director/Acting Extension Program Coordinator later this week to finalize the scope of our community based Food and Nutrition project.I am looking forward to next upcoming weeks!