PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
AUSTRALIAN TEAM SURVEYING DIETARY PATTERNS OF PACIFIC ISLANDERS
NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 31, 1999 -- PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is conducting a regional study to find out why there is an increase in non-communicable diseases among Pacific Islanders.
As part of the project, two officials from Australia were in Tonga last week to scrutinize the dietary patterns of Tongans.
In their tour of the Pacific region so far, they observed that non-communicable diseases are a major health risk for many Pacific Islanders, especially in Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
The visiting health officials said these diseases are associated with such lifestyle factors as smoking and reduced physical activity levels.
Past surveys also have indicated that the region has undergone a shift in food consumption patterns, from a diet of traditional food high in carbohydrates to a heavy reliance on processed and imported foods, high in fat and sugar.
AusAID has been active in the region for the past three years, trying to eradicate non-communicable diseases. A recent review of AusAID activity indicates its work in the Pacific has contributed significantly to disease prevention and control.
AusAID plans to release findings from its current study later this year.