Changing lives: Prevention and reversal of obesity

By Dr. Walter Vermeulen 15 February 2019, 12:00AM

Talofa Samoa!

I am happy to start this Health Column by informing the Public that METI has now received official support from government for its Healthy Living programme. 

Thanks to this support, METI is now able to present its Health Seminars and Cooking demonstrations free of charge. 

We hope that in this way more and more people suffering from these chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease will come forward and attend these events at METI’s Clinic at Motootua to learn about the whole foods, plant based (WFPB) diet for the prevention and reversal of obesity and the various non- communicable diseases (NCD).

We encourage the patients, before you attend the Seminar, to come to the Clinic and register so that we can follow you after you attend the Seminar and Cooking demonstration to monitor the reversal process and give any help or advice you may need about the WFPB diet. Depending on demand, seminars will be scheduled throughout the week as well as after hours.

We are often asked what other projects METI is busy with other than its Healthy Living programme. 

In case you don’t know, METI stands for Matuaileoo Environment Trust incorporated. It is therefore not surprising that METI is involved in projects aimed at preserving Samoa’s Environment and helping communities to become conscious about and resilient to Climate Change.

In December 2016, Governments agreed at a landmark climate conference in Paris to hold global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration of an even lower target, of 1.5C.To achieve this goal a concerted action by all Nations will be required to bring down the production of the so-called greenhouse gases. Until recently such efforts have mainly concentrated on efforts to slow down and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels and to promote instead the use of ‘renewable energy’ like solar or wind power. 

More recently however, intensive livestock farming has been identified as a major cause of greenhouse gases and an even greater contributor to global warming than the transport sector. This is not only because of the methane produced by the animals and the massive slurry pits that accompany large farms but the widespread destruction of rain forests around the world that it causes to make space available for cattle ranches and crop land to grow animal feeds for the billions of animals that are slaughtered every year .

Scientists have now concluded that to be successful in containing global warming it will not be enough to only phase out fossil fuels and ‘go renewable’ for energy generation but that in addition we have to change our eating habits and drastically reduce our consumption of animal products.  

In that respect, last month, METI received a further endorsement for its WFPB diet, when the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published the findings of an international commission  that was created to outline a ‘planetary health diet’ that provides nutritious food to the world’s fast-growing population, while at the same time significantly decreasing the major role of livestock farming in driving climate change because of the destruction of rainforests and wildlife and the pollution of rivers and oceans.

‘The Planetary Health Diet’, as Professor Walter Willett from Harvard University in the USA, a co-author of the final report noted: ‘consists of a variety of plant-based foods, low amounts of animal-based foods, unsaturated rather than saturated fats, and few refined grains, highly processed foods, and added sugars.’

This is similar to what METI is promoting with its WFPB diet: after the NCD have been reversed (by using the strict ‘reversal diet’), small amounts of animal products are allowed at the Sunday ‘toona’i’ and considered as a treat. By doing so, we can get back to the eating habits of Samoans more than 50 years ago, when obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure were rarely observed among the people. 

So, by following the WFPB diet you create a win-win situation. 

Not only will this diet prevent or reverse these NCD that could cut short your life, but it will allow you to personally take an active role in combatting climate change by significantly reducing the consumption of animal products.

We are happy to present, explained in her own words, the testimony of one of our ‘champions’, Mrs. Otara Eteru, who has reversed her hypertension in a matter of weeks by strictly following the WFPB diet.


Name: Otara Eteru Autagavaia

Village: Fuailoloo Mulifanua

I am a female of 47 year of age from the village mentioned above. 

I grew up without knowing that I developed Hypertension. 

One day I collapsed and my family took me to the Leulumoega hospital. The nurse took my blood pressure and said it’s too high (198/110). The nurse said to me to wait until half an hour then take another measurement. The Doctor prescribed pills but I rejected it, because I never took pills before. He told me to sign the paper of agreement that I don’t want to take blood pressure pills.  

I refused to take these pills because I heard about METI’s program that reverses these Non- Communicable Diseases. 

I love to eat vegetable soup without meat, fruit salad etc. I love this because my blood pressure comes down. My blood pressure now is normal and I am back to my normal duties 

Thanks to my family support, and also METI for this great help that helped me to reverse my hypertension. 


For more information about METI’s Healthy Living Programme and how to register for the enlightening Health Seminars and Cooking demonstration, come and visit us at METI’s Clinic at Motootua or call us on 30550. 


By Dr. Walter Vermeulen 15 February 2019, 12:00AM

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