Nutrition Transition in Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Gwendalyn Vengiau - PhD Confirmation Review milestone presentation
Nutrition transition plays an important role in the rapid increase of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and ongoing issues of infectious diseases in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). NCDs are increasing worldwide, however the rise in LMICs is more rapid with greater implications and causes a double burden of disease with a concurrent burden of infectious diseases. The major health risks associated with nutrition transition include obesity and undernutrition. These health effects are associated with important elements of nutrition transition that include changes in diet towards high dense diets and active to sedentary lifestyles. These changes vary across countries and populations. In high income or developed countries this phenomenon is well established but, unfortunately, information from developing countries is limited. In PNG, studies that explore such important issues are scarce especially at this crucial period when the country is experiencing rapid transformation due to economic development.
This PhD research work intends to explore nutrition transition in PNG by investigating changes in dietary and physical activity patterns to provide an insight into the characteristics of these changes and the effects on health outcomes. This will contribute to the essential information required to develop appropriate and effective country-specific prevention measures of significant risk factors for both NCDs and infectious diseases.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Applied Health Science (Primary Health Care) from UQ, Gwendalyn Vengiau joined the PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR). While working for the institute, she completed a Masters in International Health program at the University of Tokyo that led to her interest in nutrition, particularly changes in diet and physical activity in PNG.