Cook Islands ranked as one of the most obese nation in the world

RAROTONGA, 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 (RADIO COOK ISLANDS) – The Cook Islands is ranked as one of the most obese nation in the world, this is according to the latest World Health Organisation Report.

Seeing the Cook Islands ranked in the top ten is of great concern to the Ministry of Health says Health Secretary Dr Aumea Josephine Herman.

“This signals huge concerns for the Ministry of Health but general message going to the rest of the nation that we have a big problem on our hands. We’ve known about this for sometime and it was mentioned during the recent Annual Health Conference.”

There are a range of obvious contributing factors to the obesity problem we are experiencing today, says Dr Herman.

“The reliance on fast food and change of lifestyle as contributed to the issue. We are eating more highly processed imported food and less of our traditional local food, which is the healthiest in the world.

We have moved away from an active lifestyle to one where we drive on vehicles instead of walking or running. There is less physical activities today than before.”

The question that has been posed, can we reverse this?

Dr Herman says 30 years ago obesity was not an issue.

A study was done in the 1960s on the island of Pukapuka, Rarotonga and NZ were it showed no cases of diabetes and high blood pressure in Pukapuka, a few in Rarotonga and many in NZ.

“If we look at that trend at that time, to reverse that trend is something we need to aspire to as a country and we need to do it. It’s not acceptable what’s happening in Cooks right now”.

The Obesity epidemic is the biggest strain and threat to the Cook islands health system today.

It gives rise to health issues such as cardiac diseases, diabetes and hypertension which impacts the ability of the Ministry of Health to respond but also the economy in that we are having more sick people and less people to drive the economy.

The Ministry of Health have had discussions with WHO and the World Bank about the burden of Non- Communicable Diseases in the nation that has not been well quantified, so a study will be conducted to look into this and it should be ready by October this year.

Meanwhile the health message to the people is to get more active, eat healthy food and eat the right amount.

A healthy population and workforce will drive the nation.

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