Kitavian diet eliminates obesity and cardiovascular disease

Doug Skrecky (
Mon, 6 Dec 1999 20:08:53 -0800 (PST)

(Note #1: The exceptionally high arginine content of coconut protein

may partly explain the absence of heart disease. Note #2: The exceptionally high satiating effect of tubers may

help account for the absence of obesity.)

Citations: 1-4

Lindeberg S. Berntorp E. Nilsson-Ehle P. Terent A. Vessby B. Institution
Department of Community Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.
Age relations of cardiovascular risk factors in a traditional Melanesian society: the Kitava Study.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 66(4):845-52, 1997 Oct. Abstract
This study examined cross-sectional age relations of blood pressure, anthropometric indexes, serum lipids, and hemostatic variables in 203 subsistence horticulturists aged 20-86 y in Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea. The population is characterized by extreme leanness (despite food abundance), low blood pressure, low plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 activity, and rarity of cardiovascular disease. Tubers, fruit, fish, and coconut are dietary staples whereas dairy products, refined fat and sugar, cereals, and alcohol are absent and salt intake is low. Although diastolic blood pressure was not associated with age in Kitavans, systolic blood pressure increased linearly after 50 y of age in both sexes. Body mass index decreased with age in both sexes. Serum total cholesterol, triacylglycerol, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B increased in males between 20 and 50 y of age, whereas high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I decreased. There were no significant differences in these indexes with age in the few females studied. A slight linear age-related increase of lipoprotein(a) was present in males. Plasma fibrinogen, factor VII clotting activity, factor VIII clotting activity, and von Willebrand factor antigen increased with age in both sexes but plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 activity did not. The modest or absent relations between the indexes measured and age are apparently important explanations of the virtual nonexistence of stroke and ischemic heart disease in Kitava.


Lindeberg S. Berntorp E. Carlsson R. Eliasson M. Marckmann P. Institution
Department of Community Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweaden. Title
Haemostatic variables in Pacific Islanders apparently free from stroke and ischaemic heart disease--the Kitava Study. Source
Thrombosis & Haemostasis. 77(1):94-8, 1997 Jan. Abstract
We cross-sectionally measured plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) activity, fibrinogen, factor VII (FVII:C) and VIII (FVIII:C) coagulant activity, and von Willebrand factor antigen (VWF:Ag) in 162 traditional horticulturalists older than 40 years from the tropical island of Kitava, Papua New Guinea, where the intake of western food is negligible and where stroke and ischaemic heart disease appear to be absent. Identical analyses were made in Swedish subjects of comparable ages. Kitavams had markedly lower PAI-1 activity, with 85% of males and 100% of females having PAI-1 activity < or = 5 U/ml, as compared with 22 and 14% in Swedish males and females (p < 0.0001). Surprisingly, Kitavans also had higher FVII:C. FVIII:C and VWF:Ag. Fibrinogen was 10% lower in Kitavan males while 25% higher in Kitavan females. The very low PAI-1 activity in Kitavans may explain some of their apparent freedom from cardiovascular disease and probably relates to their extreme leanness.


Lindeberg S. Nilsson-Ehle P. Vessby B. Institution
Department of Community Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. Title
Lipoprotein composition and serum cholesterol ester fatty acids in nonwesternized Melanesians.
Lipids. 31(2):153-8, 1996 Feb.
In this study, the relationships between dietary fat [as measured by serum cholesterol ester fatty acids (CE-FA)], age, smoking, body mass index, and serum lipids were analyzed in 151 subsistence horticulturalists, aged 20-86 yr, from Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea. Their diet consists of tubers, fruit, coconut, fish, and vegetables with a negligible influence of western food and alcohol. Total fat intake is low [21% of energy (en%)], while saturated fat intake from coconuts is high (17 en%, mainly lauric and myristic acid). In multivariate analysis, 11-43% of the variation of the serum lipoprotein composition was explained by CE-FA, age, and smoking habits. The proportion of CE20:5n-3 explained much of the variation of triglycerides (TG, negative relation) and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C, positive) in both sexes and serum apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1, positive) in the males. CE16:0 was positively related to TG and negatively related to HDL-C and ApoA1 in both sexes, and in males it related negatively to total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C). In males, negative relationships were present between CE18:2n-6 and TC and between CE14:0 and serum lipoprotein(a). Smoking was independently associated with lower ApoA1 in both sexes and with
lower HDL-C and higher TG, TC, LDL-C, and apolipoprotein B in males. In conclusion, marine n-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid showed the same potentially beneficial relationships with lipoproteins and apolipoproteins as in western populations. The relations of palmitic acid to serum lipids may be explained in terms of endogenous fat synthesis at a low-fat intake, rather than reflecting its relative intake.


Lindeberg S. Lundh B.
Primary Health Care Centre, Sjobo, Sweden. Title
Apparent absence of stroke and ischaemic heart disease in a traditional Melanesian island: a clinical study in Kitava. Source
Journal of Internal Medicine. 233(3):269-75, 1993 Mar. Abstract
On the island of Kitava, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, a subsistence lifestyle, uninfluenced by western dietary habits, is still maintained. Tubers, fruit, fish and coconut are dietary staples. Of the total population, 1816 subjects were estimated to be older than 3 years and 125 to be 60-96 years old. The frequencies of spontaneous sudden death, exertion-related chest pain, hemiparesis, aphasia and sudden imbalance were assessed by semi-structured interviews in 213 adults aged 20-96. Resting electrocardiograms (ECG's) were recorded in 119 males and 52 females. No case corresponding to stroke, sudden death or angina pectoris was described by the interviewed subjects. Minnesota Code (MC) items 1-5 occurred in 14 ECG's with no significant relation to age, gender or smoking. ST items (MC 4.2 and 4.3) were found in two females and Q items (MC 1.1.2, 1.3.2 and 1.3.3) in three males. Stroke and ischaemic heart disease appear to be absent in this population.