Aunchalee Palmquist, assistant professor of anthropology, and Nancy Pollock (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) co-organized an informal session on Obesity and Health in the Pacific at the 2012 Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania annual meeting in Portland, Ore.
The session featured work by an international group of scholars working on research related to obesity, the body, and health throughout the Pacific Islands. Palmquist presented a paper titled, “Setting and Agenda for Anthropological Research on Childhood Obesity in Hawaii,” which highlights preliminary analysis of interview data on social factors related to child feeding behaviors among low income Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander migrant groups in Hawaii. Palmquist will continue ethnographic research for this project in Honolulu and Hilo, Hawaii, this summer.
Other participants presented work related to obesity intervention (N. Pollock, Victoria U of Wellington, NZ), food availability and health choices in Samoa (J. Hardin, Brandeis U.), local food practices, imported food and local perspectives on diet and body shape (T. Mountjoy, U. Bergen), food choices, access to food, and child feeding practices in Vanuatu (C. Wentworth, U. Pittsburgh), critical and biocultural approaches to understanding diabetes in Vanuatu (A. Vaughan, U. Hawaii-Manoa), and Samoans and Tongans living in Hawaii: body image and food (S. Wurtzburg, U. Hawaii-Manoa).
This group, which met last year at the ASAO meeting in Honolulu, plans to reconvene in 2013 as a working session with the goal of developing an edited volume featuring the scholars’ collective works.