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Ecol Food Nutr. 2011 Jul-Aug;50(4):337-50. doi: 10.1080/03670244.2011.586315.

Energy and nutrient intake of Tongan adults estimated by 24-hour recall: the importance of local food items.

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Department of Human Ecology, School of International Health, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Tongan adults show one of the highest prevalences of obesity in the world. The present study aims to estimate Tongans' energy and nutrient intakes and food sources using a 24-hour recall survey for 14 days targeting 15 men and 19 women. The mean (SD) daily energy intake was 12.2 (2.3) MJ for men and 10.6 (2.2) MJ for women. Imported foods accounted for about half of their energy and macronutrient intakes, but for much less of their micronutrients. Some local food items, specifically pork, kava, and sea hare, contributed significantly to their vitamin, Fe, and Ca intakes, respectively. These findings suggest that heavy reliance on imported foods can lead not only to a high prevalence of obesity, but also to micronutrient deficiencies.

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