Saturday, June 15, 2013

Are Fiji people too fat?

from w
The editorial in today's Fiji Times is about obesity in Fiji and suggests that Fijians are the fourth most overweight group of people in the world.  I think Tonga figures higher than that.  Why?  Go into a bush village in Fiji and most of the men and women are moderately built, even very healthy and lean.  Of course the culture of some Pacific Island groups is that you look healthy if you are fat, and sick if you are skinny.  So what is going on?  As the medical people suggest it is the change of diet, junk food, fast meals such as buns and noodles, less fruit as vegetables which would be in the traditional diet and still is in island and inland communities.  The food in Fiji is certainly flavoursome and large feasts figure in many traditional occasions - funerals, weddings, family rites of passage, visiting dignitories, and the talatalas are often fat because they are given the top of the table serve!  And then you get obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure. Cut the salt! Cut the fat!  Go vegetarian six days of the week I reckon. And walk a lot.
And Samoans too of course.
(added on Thursday: The ABC Australian radio news gave this story which was surprising.)

Food challenge

Ruby Taylor-Newton
Sunday, June 16, 2013
It all starts with what foods you put in your mouth.
The comments from our health minister on page 3 that Fiji is ranked fourth most obese nation in the world may come as a shock to some, while for others, hardly surprising.
With this medical revelation, we are again reminded about our eating habits at home, at work, at restaurants and wherever else.
To change our eating habits is to change our mindsets.
And in a multi-cultural society that appreciates rich, flavoursome foods too much, it can be hard to cut back, cut out and force a change in our tastebuds.
But with our lives and health hanging in the balance, we are now forced to make a choice.
For some, giving up a normal diet of rich Pacific food, junk, fizzy drinks, noodles, roti, burgers, etc is a real challenge.
However, when we consider the rising NCD cases in our country, the deaths caused by them, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, stress, all which contribute to NCDs, we know a change in our eating habits is way overdue.
And like everything else that is supposed to be good for human beings, it all starts at home.
The odds are against us in many instances - it may seem. Not only must we summon up the courage to change our choice of foods, but then, we have the food sellers, supermarkets, eateries, restaurants and fast food chains to contend with.
We must conquer our weak desires to give in to eating unhealthy, buying unhealthy food and living unhealthy lifestyles. And its not easy.
A change in foods will require a change in mindset, a change in leisure indulgences perhaps, a change in our shopping lists and most of all, a willingness to want to go all the way to a new and healthy you.
Commitment, dedication, perseverence to this one goal is as challenging as winning a race — except this challenge can be a life and death situation.
Yes, eating healthy is expensive, but getting sick will cost us more.
Better to accept the situation we are in, and take the appropriate course of action that will steer us in a healthy direction.
Instead of waiting around for the health ministry to figure out innovative options to address the problem of obesity, we can start with ourselves. Make small, simple changes to what we eat.

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