The chapter describes results of a study conducted in Ponta de Pedras, a small municipality (27,000 inhabitants) in the estuary of the Amazon River on Marajó Island, in the State of Pará. Close to 400 questionnaires were applied to the population to assess the impact of globalization on the municipality. The main revenue of the municipality comes from the export of açaí fruit, which became a global product after being discovered by two Californian surfers in around 1990. The city is three and half hours by boat from a large city, but it is connected to the world by Internet via mobile phones (95% of urban and 79% of rural population have a mobile phone), which is used for social media access, studies, açaí sales, and to buy products. Effects on cultural and eating habits have been observed, as processed foods are replacing fish and açaí among youngsters in the local diet. Hypertension was the main morbidity reported by the interviewees, particularly those living in the rural area. On the other hand, the urban area has poor sanitary infrastructure and public services. The chapter ends by discussing the complex role of globalization in the development of communities and how local governments and health policies could act to balance the effects of globalization on health.
Part of the book: Current Issues in Global Health