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Survey forecasts NCDs rise

Nasik Swami
Saturday, December 15, 2012

EIGHTY-TWO per cent of all deaths in Fiji are attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

And revelations have been made by the Ministry of Health that the number of people suffering from NCDs in the country will increase from next year.

Ministry of Health NCD national adviser Dr Isimeli Tukana told this newspaper that the ministry had finished the national NCD survey and the results would be out in June next year.

Dr Tukana said NCDs in Fiji comprised diabetes, hypertension, obesity, malnutrition, cardiovascular diseases, heart diseases, cancer, asthma and deaths arising from accidents and injuries.

He said the latest statistics showed that diabetes and hypertension had been the number one killer in the country.

"From the last survey carried out in 2002, diabetes rose to 16 per cent from 4 per cent in 1985 which affected about 400,000 people from the age of 25 to 64 years," Dr Tukana said.

He said hypertension or high blood pressure which was the second killer disease in Fiji had affected about 19 per cent of the country's population.

"Apart from diabetes we also have NCD deaths from cancer, mental illness, accidents and asthma is coming up."

Dr Tukana said NCDs were affecting people living in all divisions around the country but the latest survey had found out that more people living in the urban areas suffered from it than the ones in rural areas.

"The four major risk factors for NCDs are smoking, eating, alcohol abuse and less physical activity."

He said people were now moving towards eating foods high in fat and sugar.

Dr Tukana said there was also less physical activity, as people were sitting more and moving less.

"NCD is an issue of lifestyle.

"It is due to attitude problem.

"The treatment or management of NCDs rest with the patients," Dr Tukana said.

He said the ministry had also noted an increase in the number of children who are getting big for their age and height.

"We have obesity and malnutrition among children."

Dr Tukana said people needed to learn to eat a balanced diet.





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