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More Fijians are unhealthy because they are physically inactive

01-21-2012 09:21 BJT

SUVA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Three in four people of the Fiji population are physically inactive causing an increase in health risks, says the country's Ministry of Health.

National Advisor on Non-Communicable Disease Dr. Isimeli Tukana said that lifestyle in this Fijian generation has changed a lot, especially for the younger population that have been influenced by technology.

Tukana said on Friday many children nowadays are obese and that was of growing concern. That is why the Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of Education in promoting more physical education in schools and making it compulsory from this school term.

Fiji was recently ranked the fourth-most obese nation in the region, according to the Health Ministry.

Recent studies in Fiji showed a high incidence of anaemia in children, women and men.

Figures released by the ministry said more than 60 percent of the island nation's population is overweight while a significant number are deficient in iron and micronutrients.

The figures show that the high rate of premature disability with Non Communicable Diseases (NCD), infection and cancer has taken its toll on the population.

"The importance of our traditional diets, healthy eating and physical activities is paramount," a ministry statement had said.

"In the Pacific NCDs have reached epidemic proportions," it said.

"Nutritional imbalances resulting from not eating local produce instead of canned, processed food contribute to the equation, especially in these times of global economic crisis."

Women's Minister Dr. Jiko Luveni has advised mothers in the country this week to stock up on healthy foods for their families.

She said having green leafy vegetables was vital and buying fruits for children's snacks instead of salted prepacked ones was the way to keep the family healthy.

The National Food and Nutrition Council said Friday that as the school year draws parents should find healthy alternatives for their children.

They have urged teachers and parents to include fruits in every child's meal to reduce NCDs.

In other countries in the region Tokelau and Nauru's obesity rates stand at 93 percent to 93.5 percent of the population.

In American Samoa and Kiribati obesity stands at 81.5 percent of the population, while Marshall Islands at 80.1 percent, Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei) at 73.1 percent.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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