While watching the World Report of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in conjunction with its annual General Conference, I was excited to see a report of a special program taking place in Samoa focusing on teaching gardening skills to local Samoans to improve their health and self-reliance.
The program, centered in the tiny village of Sauniatu, is meant to reestablish traditions of good nutrition and health among Samoans, which traditions led early missionaries and explorers to comment on the physical superiority of Samoan men and women.
Since Western contact, the Samoans have increasingly relied on imported foods, leading to some of the world's highest rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases. It is my belief, and has been a major focus of my academics over the past three years, that a return to the traditional lifestyle of Samoan food and physical activity will reverse these destructive health trends. I'm glad to see that the Church I belong to is establishing itself as a community leader in the efforts to promote the health and welfare of the Samoan people.