U.S. GIVES $25 MILLION TO STUDY OBESITY IN PACIFIC, HAWAII

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University of Hawaii to head five-year grant

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 3, 2011) - US authorities have given researchers a US$25 million dollar grant to study prevention of obesity in remote Pacific Islands and parts of Hawaii.

The five-year Department of Agriculture grant will fund research to be headed by the University of Hawaii, involving scientists from American Samoa, Guam, Micronesia and the Northern Marianas.

Professor Rachel Novotny from the University of Hawaii says those communities show high levels of obesity, leading to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

She's told Radio Australia's Pacbeat program the research can make a difference.

"If we can find some of the most salient factors in each community such as foods that are being imported, and maybe put some more support towards some local production, some of these sorts of things - the effect could be quite dramatic especially in these island communities with fewer inputs and outputs than some of the larger places," she said.

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