Sunday, April 05, 2015

Poor health in Fiji

from w
We are often reading that someone in Fiji has died - younger than expected. It's really sad to know that so many Fiji people die young of diseases that are the consequence of lifestyle - rich food, dinner late at night, lack of exercise, too much sugar, stress.
In the Fiji Times - Monday April 6 is this article.

Dying prematurely

Torika Chandra
Monday, April 06, 2015
NON-communicable diseases, according to the World Health Organization, is not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and generally slow progression. Also known as chronic diseases, NCDs affect all age groups. Though often associated with older age groups, evidence shows that 16 million of all deaths in the world attributed to NCDs occur before the age of 70. Of these "premature" deaths, 82 per cent occur in low — and middle-income countries. Children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to NCDs, whether from unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke or the effects of the harmful use of alcohol. Fiji is fast becoming a part of this world NCD statistic.
ALLOW me to begin my focus feature with facts — out of the 6000 people who die in Fiji every year, 5000 die because of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
These are mainly heart attacks and strokes. Alarming? How about this? People in Fiji are dying prematurely, getting sick by the age of 20 and dying at 40 years.
Or that 80 to 85 per cent of Fijians continue to die from either cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic lung disease.
Or that Fiji records one amputation every 12.6 hours and one in five persons are at a risk of having a stroke.
An even alarming fact which will be sure to knock you off your feet is that Fiji's youngest diabetic patient is a 12-year-old, who suffers from Type 2 Diabetes.
These alarming, but real figures from the Ministry of Health, should be knocking you off your feet.
Enough to make you throw your cigarette packets in the rubbish or straight out for a run or even to the nearest shopping centre to buy healthier foods.
The increase of NCDs in Fiji is due to several factors, mainly because of a rise in urbanisation, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and the aggressive marketing of foods unnaturally high in fat, salt and sugar.
To make matters worse, people are giving in to these factors and allowing themselves, some even willingly, to be part of an NCD statistic.
Dr Wahid Khan, the chairman of Diabetes Fiji, did not mince his words when he stated last month that unless and until there is public support and will-power, non-communicable diseases will remain a part of Fiji and embedded into our Fijian lifestyle.
"Time has come to fix things before it is too late," Dr Khan said.
He pinpoints the solution to everyone.
"NCDs can be contained if people change their lifestyle by eating and living healthy," Dr Khan said.
"However, this level of transformation can only be achieved through multiple interventions from every layer of our society. "
World Health Organization technical officer Dr Wendy Snowdon, during the Alliance for Healthy Living launch, says States tackling NCDs required a multisectoral approach.
She stressed it was critical to engage the civil society organisations, community groups and community members to bring about a desired change.
"The active participation of civil society organisations, particularly, the participation of grassroots organisations representing people living with NCDs, could assist in formulating public health policies and legislations which would assist individuals to reach the highest standard of health and wellbeing."
Dr Khan adds time is of the essence as NCD was already suffocating Fiji and stealing the country of its future.
"We believe that the opportunity for health begins in our families, neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces, therefore, we encourage everyone to take charge and to bring about changes to their lifestyles to arrest the problem of NCDs."
* Minimise or restrict consumption of sugar sweetened beverages;
* Eat more local seasonal fruits;
* Reduce smoking and alcohol use;
* Cut down on salt and fatty food intake; and
* Improve physical activity.

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