Pacific Island Leaders should lead by example and move away from obesity lifestyle.
Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva made the appeal in an interview with Samoa Observer with discussing the impact of child obesity and non-communicable diseases in the region.
“The N.C.D. and child obesity has everything to do with our eating habits and our lifestyle and it is complex issue when it comes to our Pacific people.
“And with Pacific Island Leaders, we meet and talk and talk about this issue, yet initiatives on this issue is not making an impact, it doesn’t seem to work.
“We have bene advocating the same issue, over the years but it doesn’t seem to work,” said Pohiva.
Speaking of Tonga’s life expectancy, Pohiva said it has gone down.
“For me it is now down to 68 years-old yet at one stage it was 71. It has reduced significantly.”
He said the only way to address this regional issue is for the leaders to walk the talk.
“But you see all the leaders… no comment there.
“And I will make a proposal to them for the Pacific Island Forum meeting next week; we should all get together for a weight loss competition; for an entire year, so when we meet the following year we will weigh in again and see who has lost the most.
“It is not about who loses the most kilo’s but in order to shake off the weight, you must eat light and having that healthy mentality will go a long way.
“Once the leaders are adapting to that mindset they would be determined to get their people on the same aspect and go from there,” said Pohiva.
Secretary General of Pacific Island Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, in a separate interview with the Samoa Observer said Pacific nations were not making headway in their fight against child obesity.
“The Pacific Islands are not making an impact on child obesity yet latest data on World Health Organization show at least 20 per cent of children between the ages of five to 19-years-old were obese in 10 Countries of the Pacific Islands Forum.
“The really worrying fact is that we are not making an impact we’ve now got a problem that obesity in children is one of the biggies concerns
“If we have obese childcare, we have obese adults and diabetes an diabetes rate will go in shock.
“If you look at the figures childhood obesity, the Melanesians have the least and due to their diet. But the Polynesians and Micronesians are really high and that is real worrying,” she said.