Food Sources and Dietary Quality in Small Island Developing States: Development of Methods and Policy Relevant Novel Survey Data from the Pacific and Caribbean.


Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have high and increasing rates of diet-related diseases. This situation is associated with a loss of food sovereignty and an increasing reliance on nutritionally poor food imports. A policy goal, therefore, is to improve local diets through improved local production of nutritious foods. Our aim in this study was to develop methods and collect preliminary data on the relationships between where people source their food, their socio-demographic characteristics and dietary quality in Fiji and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in order to inform further work towards this policy goal. We developed a toolkit of methods to collect individual-level data, including measures of dietary intake, food sources, socio-demographic and health indicators. Individuals aged ≥15 years were eligible to participate. From purposively sampled urban and rural areas, we recruited 186 individuals from 95 households in Fiji, and 147 individuals from 86 households in SVG. Descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression were used to investigate associations. The mean dietary diversity score, out of 10, was 3.7 (SD1.4) in Fiji and 3.8 (SD1.5) in SVG. In both settings, purchasing was the most common way of sourcing food. However, 68% (Fiji) and 45% (SVG) of participants regularly (>weekly) consumed their own produce, and 5% (Fiji) and 33% (SVG) regularly consumed borrowed/exchanged/bartered food. In regression models, independent positive associations with dietary diversity (DD) were: borrowing/exchanging/bartering food (β = 0.73 (0.21, 1.25)); age (0.01 (0.00, 0.03)); and greater than primary education (0.44 (0.06, 0.82)). DD was negatively associated with small shop purchasing (-0.52 (95% CIs -0.91, -0.12)) and rural residence (-0.46 (-0.92, 0.00)). The findings highlight associations between dietary diversity and food sources and indicate avenues for further research to inform policy actions aimed at improving local food production and diet.