Dietary intake of modernizing Samoans: implications for risk of cardiovascular disease

J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Feb;99(2):184-90. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(99)00044-9.


Objective: To describe the dietary intake of American and Western Samoans, with emphasis on nutrients conventionally related to risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Design: Cross-sectional dietary survey. Intake estimates were based on 24-hour recall interviews.

Subject: Community-based samples of 946 men and women (455 American Samoans, 491 Western Samoans) aged 25 to 55 years.

Statistical analyses: Tests of differences in means (t tests) and proportions (chi 2 tests). Correlation and multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to describe correlates of energy and nutrient intakes.

Results: Few differences were noted between the energy and nutrient intakes of men and women, but substantial differences were found between residents of American Samoa and those of the less modernized country of Western Samoa. American Samoans consumed significantly more energy as carbohydrate (47% vs 44%) and protein (18% vs 13%) and less as fat (36% vs 46%) and saturated fat (16% vs 30%). Energy-adjusted intakes of cholesterol and sodium were higher among American Samoans. These differences persisted after adjustment for age, gender, years of education, occupation, and categories of a 10-point material lifestyle score. Samoans in the lowest category of material lifestyle had significantly lower energy-adjusted intakes of protein, cholesterol, and sodium and higher intakes of saturated fat than those in the upper 2 categories. Additional analyses described the contribution of specific foods to the intakes of energy and macronutrients.

Conclusions/applications: The observed energy and nutrient intake patterns are consistent with previously reported levels of obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Samoans and suggest dietary modification for those at highest risk. Dietetics practitioners who counsel Samoan and other Pacific Islander clients should be aware of these intake patterns, which seem particularly malleable to levels of personal income. More generally, results from this study illustrate that the food choices of certain ethnic groups may be profoundly affected by the process of modernization within a country or by migration to a more economically developed locale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • American Samoa / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Educational Status
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent State of Samoa / epidemiology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Sodium, Dietary