NEARLY 82 per cent of deaths in Fiji are caused by non-communicable diseases.
This was the leading cause of death, according to Translation Research into Obesity Prevention in Communities (TROPIC) co-ordinator Gade Waqa.
She was referring to the National Nutrition Survey 2000, adding there was an urgent need to create an environment that enabled healthier eating and physical activity.
According to the survey, obesity was low among people below 17 years of age.
"But there is a huge jump of obese cases in the age group between 15-17, which was seven per cent for 1993 and 15 per cent for 2004.
"However, the figures escalated to 20 per cent (1993) and 45 per cent (2004) for the two years in the age group between 18-24 years."
Ms Waqa said about 65 per cent of the population over 55 years was obese.
This was a result of people refraining from physical work after retirement.
"People must start eating healthy balanced meals to avoid non-communicable diseases, for instance diabetes, anaemia and high blood pressure, therefore they must improve lifestyles and eating habits," Ms Waqa said.