DELEGATES from regional countries will converge in Nadi today for a weeklong meeting that aims to highlight the link between trade agreements and health.
The meet is organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (known as C-POND).
UNDP communications specialist Shobhna Decloitre said the workshop would assist country delegates ensure their trade agreements and policies took full account of public health concerns such as obesity, heart diseases, diabetes and cancer and that their country's health initiatives were trade-compliant.
"Research has shown that Pacific Island countries have some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, with obesity rates as high as 75 per cent and diabetes rates as high as 47 per cent in some countries," said Ms Decloitre
"This phenomenon has been largely attributed to changing lifestyles and increasing reliance on highly processed foods of poor nutritional value, many of which are imported, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles," she said.