As a scenic collection of islands sitting in the South Pacific, French Polynesia is known for its breathtaking ocean views and sandy beaches. French Polynesia has a population of about 280,000, and the country’s GDP annual growth is approximately four percent. The value added to the country’s GDP for agriculture is approximately five percent. While the image of resort life makes food insecurity seem like a non-issue, hunger in French Polynesia presents a challenge to the country’s lower class, and issues of nutrition plague most of its residents.
According to a report from the World Health Organization, issues of hunger in French Polynesia can mainly be attributed to issues of nutrition. Anemia, iodine deficiencies and vitamin A deficiencies are common nutritional issues in the country, according to the report. Anemia was found to mostly affect pregnant women and children. According to the report, of the pregnant women attending antenatal consultations in 2000, approximately 60 percent were suffering from anemia. Of 107 children surveyed in 1997, approximately 43 percent had anemia. Further studies in 2001 and 2002 showed a growing prevalence of anemia in school children.
One area in respect to nutrition that has seen improvement is infant feeding. According to the report, approximately 81 percent of infants were breastfed at birth in 2000. In the following years, this percentage grew, and the percentage of infants who were exclusively breastfed grew from five percent in 1997 to 19 percent in 2001.
Hunger in French Polynesia is viewed as a less critical problem in the country in comparison to issues of nutrition, though it is still a prominent challenge for low-income families.
According to data from Trading Economics, the depth of hunger in kilocalories for those living in French Polynesia is about 150. This means that the depth of hunger is relatively low, though it tends to have a greater effect on lower-class citizens.
– Leah Potter