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Switch to healthy living

Samuel Berenyi
Saturday, February 01, 2014

ACTION for Children and the Aged (ACATA) Trust Fiji has completed a new pilot survey — the Physical Activity Attitudes and Behaviours Survey — which aims to look at ways of improving health and exercise habits in Fiji.

The survey questionnaire was completed by 39 teachers from Suva's Jai Narayan College and looked at exercise habits around work and at home.

Statistics in this initial survey, the first of its kind in Fiji in terms of content, found that 94 per cent of people who were surveyed were motivated to be active, with 100 per cent recognising that exercise is linked to being healthy.

However, other statistics show a different story with only 15 per cent of Fijians living over the age of 55 years because of poor health, according to Temica Michell, a Peace Corp Volunteer with the Health Ministry.

A meeting of the ministry and the trust this week discussed ideas to implement new physical behaviour habits in prominent areas such as the home, work, schools and even church.

"They need to exercise to be healthy, everybody, yet they (Fijians) are not doing it," said ACATA Trust Fiji executive director Rosan Lal.

One example discussed was the need for good exercise and eating habits to be implemented in workplaces from the top down.

Mr Lal said in the Suva ANZ Bank office, only two people use the gym facility there.

He said the problem there was convincing those in prominent positions to change their habits and set a good example for the staff members below them. The survey also found that women often prioritise housework over exercise, and Ms Michell hopes to see more community-based programs geared towards why they can't participate.

"We need to work around what they are already working with. They are working with the challenge of home and taking care of the family, then we need to figure some way of creating a program in that domain."

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