Health screening tackles lifestyle diseases
The National Kidney Foundation of Samoa (N.K.F.) performed hundreds of health screening on Wednesday in an effort to increase awareness and prevention of lifestyle diseases.
The screenings were carried out during a retreat for the Women’s Fellowship of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.), a day before International Kidney Day.
The health screening consisted of taking a urine sample, taking measurements and blood pressure, testing blood sugar and then having a doctor and a nutritionist available to talk people through the results of these test and further recommendations.
Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea, the Clinical Director of the N.K.F., explained that lifestyle diseases are a serious problem in Samoa, with about 80 percent of the population being overweight or obese.
“I think our people are very enthusiastic about health issues, they want to participate in these things,” he said.
“However, we often do not see a real impact of this, because diabetes, kidney failure and high blood pressure are all still continuously growing.”
He explained, that the message unfortunately seemed to be either unclear or hard to receive, with a lot of people perhaps choosing to ignore the recommendations, in order to avoid the hard work it would take to change unhealthy habits.
“Diabetes and high blood pressure are not traditional diseases,” Leituala said. “These diseases are new, and they are related to our lifestyle. Our diet has changed dramatically from our traditional based diet to a more westernized diet, with a lot more processed food.”
He went on to explain how immobility also had a major effect on health. He explained that just choosing to walk to the store instead of taking the car could have a great effect.
“Move your body anyway you can. It is way to easy to take the car anywhere, but it is an important message to issue, that you should use your body,” he said.
Elisapeta Tumama Vili, a member of the Women’s Fellowship said their retreat is held annually for church mothers in Samoa and from abroad, including Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand.
She said a lot of the women from overseas were not able to attend this year’s retreat because of the coronavirus restrictions.
“During this retreat we invite some different organizations, who can present different topics for the ladies, such as health,” said Mrs. Vili.
“We want to raise awareness for the women. There are a lot of different lifestyle diseases that have been normalized, especially in Samoa.
“These women are role models, so when we make them aware, they can also help the women in the villages where they work.”