I work in Melanesia, where the rates of t-2 diabetes have sky rocketed in recent years due to the shift of diet from mainly seafood, root crops and pork to one based upon cheaply imported and ever widely distributed refined carbohydrates such as white rice and noodles as well as nasty HFCS products such as biscuits, corn snacks and other assorted sweets.
"Population surveys in different islands have recorded rates of 47% in American Samoa; 44% in Tokelau; 32% in the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei); 28% in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati; 23% in Nauru; and 14% in the Solomon Islands. As a comparison, in nearby Australia, the diabetes rate is 3·6%, whereas in 2007, the USA's overall population rate of diabetes was 7·8%."
The health related problem is severly testing the already under funded healthcare system, which lacks even the bare essentials, especially in rural areas. The problems have become widespread even in the few years I have been working in the Solomon Islands. Unfortunately, the Chinese have a total monopoly on the food import/distribution business, and this together with rising levels of cash economy (from subsistence based) have led many people to withdraw from traditional gardening and fishing practices and buy nutrient deficient calories from the Chinese merchants. The results are inevitable, and the short-term changes in health is staggering.
Just one example I know about, but this trend is widespread throughout the Pacific. Obesity, heart related diseases, diabetes etc all on the march.
Actually one of my hopes for this "Paleo" approach to health and well being, is that it can somehow move beyond the seemingly well educated North American following and into parts of the world where the questions about processed foodstuffs especially, are perhaps more pertinent to the entire health of a population, rather than talking about whether or not 3 cups of coffee is Paleo, or if one should feel guilty about the occasional taco. C'mon!.