High level of junk foods

Students of Arya Samaj Primary School view some of the posters that were on display during the salt awareness week in Suva in 2016. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

RIMARY school students between the ages of five to 14 years indulged in salty and sweet snacks, sugary drinks and savouries with 38 per cent snacking right after breakfast and 53 per cent after lunch.
This was highlighted by the President Jioji Konrote at the 34th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Asia Pacific Regional Conference Inaugural Ceremony of the Plenary Session last week.
He said similarly for secondary schools students between the ages of 15-19, the most commonly consumed foods were sugary drinks (31.2 per cent), salty snacks (22.5 per cent), and sweets (10.1 per cent).
“Fiji conducted a national nutrition survey in 2014-2015 and it noted that we had a eating pattern that included daily consumption of cereal, bread and breakfast crackers,” he said.
He said the three products were most commonly eaten in most households compared with traditional staples such as cassava, taro, banana, sweet potato and yams.
He also highlighted the high consumption of instant noodles as more than 60 per cent of households in Fiji consumed this on a daily basis.
“Fewer households consumed vegetables daily,” he said.
“For newly born babies, 8.3 per cent were born underweight, less than 2.5kg while 12.7 per cent were born overweight or more than 4kg.”
He stressed the need for Fijians to take appropriate action to reverse the unacceptably high trend of NCDs in Fiji.
“The first key is the promotion of healthy diets and availability of healthy options. We need to make our people aware of what they are eating and informed of their eating options,” he said.