NZ Told to Stop Fatty Food Exports

Nauru, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and Samoa all rank in the 10 most obese nations on earth, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Obesity rates in all these Pacific nations exceed 80%. Now, New Zealand has been told to stop its export of fatty foods to the Pacific if it is serious about dealing with these high rates of obesity and diabetes, according to the Samoa Observer. The call came at the recent Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum, held in Wellington. A Samoan MP, Gataoloaifa’na Amataga Alesana Gidlow, told delegates that New Zealand is largely to blame for Pacific’s high incidence of dietary-related disease. ‘We ask our developed brother, partner and neighbour, New Zealand, to stop exporting to your poor and less developed neighbour in the Pacific all your fatty products that are not for sale in your country because they are not consumable,’ she said. Tongan MP Sione Sangaster Saulala saw hypocrisy on obesity from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, according to the Samoa Observer. He told delegates, including New Zealand MPs, that if New Zealand really wanted to help the Pacific it should provide fishing boats and farming equipment to make fish and produce more affordable against imported fatty goods. Fijian youth advocate Tura Leeway told the Forum that low rates of safe sex and high rates of suicide were the worst health issues being faced by his country. Women are ‘beaten up for asking their men to use condoms’ because men presume that women are cheating on them, he said. He said political instability had lead to high rates of mental illness and depression in Fiji, with young people at particular risk. All delegates agreed that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes were just as important to address as communicable and reproductive diseases, and that the focus should be on state of health rather than disease status.

Tags: Cook Islands  diabetes  Food  Niue  obesity  Pacific  Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum  Samoa  Samoa Observer (The)