MORE than three quarters of Fijians are considered overweight, obese or morbidly obese.
According to a recent survey by the ACATA Trust Fiji in partnership with Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation, a number of gaps in understanding a balanced diet, exercise habits and what foods are being consumed on a daily basis, are leading to an obese population.
The survey showed that "77 per cent of the sample population are considered overweight, obese, or morbidly obese; 38 per cent are pre-hypertensive while 40 per cent are considered in stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension, according to the American Heart Association Guidelines".
The survey also discovered Fijians could only identify three of the four major food groups.
"Over 65 per cent understand three of the four requirements of a balanced diet. However, the gap noted is that only 2 per cent of Fijians noted dairy products as part of a balanced diet; 85 per cent of Fijians mention fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, however, only 55 per cent purchase or grow their own produce."
Despite people being aware of the food they should be eating, few followed through with 71 per cent not meeting the recommended amount of daily fruit and 38 per cent not meeting the recommended daily amount for vegetables.
On top this, 75 per cent of Fijian households had an inadequate intake of protein, which was the number one grocery item to go if funds were low, with 57 per cent of survey participants saying budget dictated the family's eating habits.
More alarming still was the apparent naivety to unhealthy eating patterns. "It was found that 76 per cent of those questioned didn't believe their family had any issues with their eating habits."