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Half of Fiji's population suffer from anaemia: health ministry

07-25-2011 14:13 BJT

SUVA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- There are 400,000 people suffering from anaemia in Fiji with a total of population at about 800,000 people, according to the Health Ministry on Monday.

Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma told media that currently 60 per cent of children less than five years old are iron deficient, 40 per cent of women lack iron while 20 per cent of men suffer from iron deficiency in the island nation.

Sharma, therefore, called on every family to grow local, eat local and move back to our traditional food habits, telling anaemic, "Do not forget to take your iron tablets."

National Advisor Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr Isimeli Tukana also told media on Monday that strategies would include implementing the Food and Health Guidelines for the country in all clinics.

All females are supposed to take their iron medication while all pre and primary school children will be given iron supplementation, he added.

According to Fiji's Agriculture and Nutrition Department, the island nation, which is in transition towards increasing industrialization, is facing nutritional problems associated with both under-nutrition and over-nutrition.

Lack of access to food due to economical shortages is one of the major causes of malnutrition in the country as one quarter of the population is living below the poverty line and most are living in illegal squatter settlements in search of employment and educational opportunities in urban areas.

The problem of over-nutrition, on the other hand, may be associated with the change in the consumption patterns towards a diet high in energy but low in fibre, vitamins and minerals and a sedentary lifestyle.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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