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Methods, Reviews and Editorials

If you can not access any of the full publications, please contact Nicola Hawley.

1. Long term trends in food availability, food prices, and obesity in Samoa.

Seiden, A., Hawley, N.L., Schulz, D., Raifman & S., McGarvey, S.T. (2012) American Journal of Human Biology 24 (3): 286-295

In this study, to describe long-term food availability and prices from 1961 to 2007 and body mass index (BMI) trends from 1980 to 2010 in Samoa, we analyzed data from the open access database FAO. They found that total energy availability increased by 47%, or by more than 900 calories per capita per day, from 1961 to 2007, and that many of the additional calories come from increased availability of dietary fat in the form of meat and vegetable oils. The mean BMI for men and women aged 35–44 also rose by 18% from 1980 to 2010. These long-term trends in food availability and prices, and the temporal pattern of BMI provide national level data for understanding the process of the nutritional transition in Samoa.

2. A protocol for the development and validation of an instrument to measure household water insecurity across cultures: the Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale.

Young, S.L., Collins, S.M., Boateng, G.O., Neilands, T.B., Jamaluddine, Z., Miller, J.D., Brewis, A., Frongillo, E.A., Jepson, W.E., Melgar-Quinonez, H., Schuster, R.C., Stoler, J., Wutich, A. & HWISE Consortium Authors. (2019). BMJ Open 9 (1): e023558.

This study aimed to develop the Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale to measure household-level water insecurity in multiple contexts. Items on the scale were assessed for both content and face validity and the surveys developed from these items are being utilized in 28 sites globally (with approximately 250 participants from each site.) Once the scale is approved, completed, and available for open-access publication, the findings will be disseminated to public health professionals, scientists, practitioners and policymakers through peer-reviewed journals, scientific presentations and meetings with various stakeholders.

3. Diabetes prevention and care programs in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands: challenges, successes, and recommendations for effective scale-up.

Hawley, N.L., Suss, R., Cash, H.L., Aito’oto, N., Samoa, R. & McElfish, P.A. (2019). Current Diabetes Reports 19 (5): 26.

The purpose of this review is to describe some of the unique challenges faced by the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPIs) in addressing diabetes prevention and care and to present innovative population-level strategies that have been employed to address them. Although the USAPIs are uniquely challenged by environmental, structural, and health system barriers, there have been a number of innovative and successful strategies employed that highlight the resilience of these island nations in addressing their current disease burden when provided with the opportunity and resources to do so. Innovations in addressing these challenges include attempts to modify the food environment, a focus on early life prevention, and task shifting among the health workforce. Health policies to protect, support, and promote diabetes prevention and care are essential and may be informed by the interventions described.

4. Diabetes disparities and promising interventions to address diabetes in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

McElfish, P.A., Purvis, R.S., Esquivel, M.K., Sinclair, K.A., Townsend Ing, C., Hawley, N.L., Haggard-Duff, L.K. & Kaholokula, J.K. (2019). Current Diabetes Reports 19 (5): 19.

The purpose of this review is to identify promising culturally-adapted interventions for diabetes designed specifically for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs.) The interventions found to be the most successful utilized a community-based approach that honored NHPI’s collectivist culture, addressed social determinants of health that influence disease control and prevention, and employ NHPI community health workers to implement the chosen interventions. The review concludes that further investment is needed to scale these interventions for regional and national implementation.

5. Exploring the paradoxical relationship of a CREBRF missense variant with body mass index and diabetes among Samoans: study protocol for the Soifua Manuia (‘Good Health’) observational cohort study.

Hawley. N.L., Pomer, A., Rivara, A.C., Rosenthal, S.L., Duckham R.L., Carlson, J.C., Naseri, T., Reupena, M.S., Selu, M., Lupematisilia, V., Unasa, F., Vesi, L., Fatu, T., Unasa, S., Faasalele-Savusa, K., Wetzel, A., Soti-Ulberg, C., Prescott, A., Siufaga, G., Penaia, C., To, S., LaMonica, L., Lameko, V., Choy, C.C., Crouter, S., Redline, S., Deka, R., Kershaw, E.E., Urban, Z., Minster, R.L., Weeks, D.E., McGarvey, S.T. JMIR Research Protocols (in press)

The purpose of the Soifua Manuia (‘Good Health’) study was to precisely characterize the association of the CREBRF genetic variant—rs373863828—with metabolic (body composition, glucose homeostasis) and behavioral traits (dietary intake, physical activity, sleep, weight control behaviors) that influence energy homeostasis. In 2010, a cohort of Samoan adults participated in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of adiposity in Samoa. A follow-up, which was based on the absence of the CREBRF gene variant in participants, took place between August 2017 and March 2019. Over a period of 7-10 days, the research team collected anthropomorphic measurements; body composition assessments; point-of-care glycated hemoglobin measurements; fasting blood draw and oral glucose tolerance tests; urine collections; blood pressure, hand grip strength, objective physical activity and sleep apnea monitoring assessments; and questionnaire measures from each participant. In January 2019, a sub-sample of the study participants (n=118) also completed a buttock fat biopsy procedure for collection of subcutaneous adipose tissue samples. A total of 519 participants were enrolled as of March 2019, and data analyses are currently ongoing. According to the research team, this study will provide insights into how the genetic variant rs373863828, in CREBRF, functions on a whole-body level. These results could provide novel targets to prevent or treat obesity, diabetes, and associated metabolic disorders.