Healthy Fijian Food in the global spotlight

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services cookbook ‘Khana Kakana’ has placed healthy Fijian food in the global spotlight after winning second place for best health and nutrition cookbook in the world at the 2015 Gourmand Cookbook Awards.
The International Gourmand Cookbook Awards are the food world’s version of the Oscar Awards, and Khana Kakana competed against the best cookbooks in the world from 205 countries. 92 countries made it to the shortlist along with Khana Kakana. Seven top health and nutrition cookbooks were shortlisted from Canada, the UK, Malaysia, Oman, the Netherlands and Sweden.These cookbooks covered a wealth of healthy topics from foods from obesity prevention to brain and eye health.

Despite this tough competition, Khana Kakana placed second thanks to its focus on healthy eating using local Fijian produce. First place went to a creative cookbook from Sweden which contains beautiful photography and specialized recipes for people with stomas.

Khana Kakana encourages Fijians to eat simple, healthy and affordable meals that use locally grown seasonal produce.

The Hon. Minister for Health and Medical Services, Mr Jone Usamate said “The cookbook has a uniquely healthy Fijian flavor, made up of recipes by both renowned chefs and local Fijians from around the country using fresh, local and affordable ingredients. With nutrition advice snippets and gardening tips, the cookbook provides a total diet solution and inspiration for all Fijians”.

“These efforts are not only improving the health of Fijians and building pride in our foods, but also changing the agricultural and tourism sector as demand for Fijian grown produce increases”.

The Ministry hopes that these efforts will instill a sense of pride in Fijian food and encourage more people to choose healthy local foods to prevent from developing non-communicable diseases.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to thank all Fijians and organisations involved in the making of Khana Kakana, including the Australian Government, the Australian and Fijian Red Cross, Fiji Health Sector Support Program and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
Meanwhile the cookbook is being distributed throughout Fiji free of charge by Ministry dieticians, doctors and nurses. It can also be found on the Ministry’s website at and Facebook page.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate, Assistant Minister Mrs Veena Bhatnagar and Mrs Joanne Choy at the launch of the Khana Kakana cookbook.
Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate, Assistant Minister Mrs Veena Bhatnagar and Mrs Joanne Choy at the launch of the Khana Kakana cookbook.



Get checked for improved knowledge of your health

The Ministry of Health & Medical Services has identified that there is an urgent need to screen Fijians for Diabetes and Hypertension. This is part of the National NCD screening programme which focuses of the over-30 population.

This is necessary to detect and determine their behavioral risk factors, including blood sugar, blood pressure and BMI (height and weight). This knowledge allows people to take better control of their health and manage their risk factors.

July is Wellness Month, with the theme Don’t Delay, Get Checked Today. During 2015, the Health Ministry is targeting a population of 90,000 people for screening.

Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are an increasing problem for Fiji both in terms of increasing economic and social burden.

The last STEPS survey (2011) found that 30% of Fijians are Diabetic, 31% are Hypertensive.

35% are overweight and 32% are obese. These alarming figures are caused by the changing lifestyles of many Fijians towards unhealthy habits and behaviors. There is a diabetes related amputation every 12.6 hours in Fiji with half of those patients unaware that they are diabetic.

The four major risk factors (lifestyle related and modifiable) are smoking, unhealthy eating habits leading to overweight and obesity, alcohol abuse and lack of physical activity abbreviated as SNAP. Common NCDs are Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases (hypertension, strokes, and Heart attacks), cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. These four NCDs cause up to 80% of premature deaths and disabilities in Fiji. Furthermore, Heart disease is the biggest killer in Fiji at this time.

The National Advisor for Non Communicable Diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana said, “One area that the Health Ministry is focusing on is the orientation towards wellness. This aims at incorporating everyone towards a healthy and productive living. Without change in behavior or habit, NCDs will remain a growing concern”.

All Fijians are urged to engage in a healthy lifestyle to combat NCDs. To achieve this, it is important to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, drink at least 10-12 glasses of water, and do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day and also to avoid smoking, alcohol and kava consumption.

Don't delay, get checked today!
Don’t delay, get checked today!