Numbers of overweight, obese people growing

President of Fiji Jioji Konrote, right, with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) UN director general Jose Graziano Da Silva tour the agriculture booth during the 34th Session of the FAO Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

President of Fiji Jioji Konrote, right, with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) UN director general Jose Graziano Da Silva tour the agriculture booth during the 34th Session of the FAO Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

STATISTICS reveal overweight and obese people are growing in number mostly in developing and developed countries in the Asia Pacific region, says President Jioji Konrote.

Mr Konrote echoed these sentiments while delivering his keynote address at the opening of the 34th session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Asia Pacific Reginal Conference at the Sofitel Resort on Denarau Island on Wednesday.

“Again, statistics reveal that overweight and obese people are growing in number, mostly in developing and developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Konrote said.

“We also have accepted the reality that we are facing a global epidemic of unhealthy people — including the many of those who are overweight and obese.”

He said this was linked directly to their lifestyle and dietary habits.

“The high costs of domestic food production exacerbate the reliance on cheap, imported, processed food.

“Processed foods, including grains like wheat and corn, and livestock products such as meat and dairy are among the top five food import categories.

Mr Konrote said given the high level of dependence on food imports, the nutritional quality of many imported foods was of great concern.

“The result has been a ‘dietary transition’ away from traditional, domestic staples like root crops, tubers, fruits and vegetables, towards diets high in processed foods and animal source foods, sugar, fat and salt,” he added.

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