Non-communicable diseases are escalating rapidly within the Pacific region, including Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. A shift in dietary patterns from indigenous, high fiber, healthy local food to energy-dense, imported food with low nutritional value, and increased sedentary lifestyles are expediting this process. Essential to counteract this trend is an understanding of how people make food decisions. This participatory assessment utilized a quantitative and qualitative approach to capture diet patterns and knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices of food consumption. A structured 7–day food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to quantify the diets of 293 adult Pohnpeian women attending an island-wide education/disability screening program. An ethno-graphic approach, including in-depth interviews, informal focus groups and observations documented food behavior practices and contributed to the design of the FFQ. Of those responding to the FFQ, 96% reported eating rice frequently (3-7 days/week) whereas 75% reported eating locally grown carbohydrate foods frequently. Factors associated with culture change, including availability, affordability, convenience, and status of food items were found to determine food decisions. Food-based, culturally sensitive and innovative strategies that utilize existing resources are required to promote local food production and consumption. Prevention programs with an information , education and communication (IEC) approach are needed to provide accurate and available health and nutrition knowledge and to increase the demand for local foods. Behavior modification requires the continued collaboration of the national, state, and community organizations that partnered on this research to strategize programs in order to target individual food choices and to transform the environment to support these decisions.