STUDIES conducted by the Fiji Obesity Prevention in Communities last year showed about 17.8 per cent of adolescents in the country were overweight or obese.
The study was carried out through the Pacific Obesity Prevention in Communities project established by the World Health Organization
And another study conducted in the same period by the Fiji National Nutrition Survey under the Ministry of Health revealed 12.9 per cent of children less than five years and 14.5 percent between the ages of five and 18 were overweight.
This was revealed by National adviser for non-communicable diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana at a workshop on controlling marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages and unhealthy foods to children at the Sea Breeze Hotel in Lautoka yesterday.
He said this was because children in Fiji were heavily exposed to advertising of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic drinks that had little nutritional value.
"Advertising influences children's food choices, purchase requests and consumption patterns," Dr Tukana said.
"Regular consumption of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic beverages are known to significantly contribute to obesity in children and NCDs in adulthood." He said more needed to be done with regards to creating an environment conducive to safe and adequate nutrition for children.
"There needs to be a comprehensive ban on advertisements of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages aimed at children."