NCDs in Fiji
In Fiji, one of the major risks to our population is the rising crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s). In recent decades, NCD’s have become the biggest killer in Fiji, causing thousands of deaths every year – many of those deaths premature – and affecting the lives of many more.
Around 80% of deaths in Fiji are caused by an NCD and those numbers are growing.
What is a Non Communicable Disease?
An NCD is not a disease passed from person to person, but develops in your body due to different causes, some within your control and some not. NCDs develop over a long time as they progress slowly. There are four main types of NCD;
- Cardiovascular Disease (Heart disease such as heart attacks and stroke)
- Respiratory Disease (Lung disease such as Asthma and COPD)
What causes these NCDs?
There are many risk factors that make you vulnerable to NCDs. There are those you can control, these are known as ‘modifiable risk factors’ and include;
- Tobacco use – Smoking puts you at higher risk
- Physical Inactivity – Lack of exercise
- Unhealthy diet – high in salt, sugar, fat and processed foods
- Alcohol – drinking too much puts you at higher risk
These unhealthy lifestyle habits lead to four key changes in your body that increase your risk of NCDs, these are known as ‘intermediate risk factors’ and include;
- Raised blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
- High blood sugar levels (Hyperglycemia)
- High blood cholesterol/levels of fat in blood (Hyperlipidemia)
Many Fijians are not taking an active approach to NCD prevention through a healthy lifestyle, which is causing a worrying increase in NCDs in Fiji.
About 95% of NCDs are due to lifestyle choices. Your day-to-day decisions, what you do, what you eat, have a huge impact on your health.
Am I at Risk?
YES. No matter what age you are, male or female, itaukei or Fijian of Indian descent, you are vulnerable to NCDs. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, you are increasing your risk.
We make unhealthy choices that are detrimental to our health. Choosing to smoke and drink too much alcohol and grog, choosing processed food high in salt and fat and drinks high in sugar over the bountiful, healthy and natural foods Fiji offers us. Choosing to sit and watch TV, when we could be walking and playing in Fiji’s vast playgrounds.
NCDs are given every opportunity to grow through our unhealthy lifestyle choices.
How Do I Reduce My Risk of Getting An NCD?
YOU have the power to reduce your risk of developing an NCD. By leading a healthy lifestyle, you lower your risk of NCD’s and you also get the most out of life.
Investing in your health as early as possible is the key to avoiding NCDs.
- Eating a healthy diet of fresh and natural foods
- Exercising daily, at least 30 – 60 minutes of moderate – vigorous exercise
- No Smoking
- Moderate your alcohol intake.
The Ministry of Health is promoting the concept of Wellness to the Fijian people in the belief that prevention is better than a cure. At every age, there are seven dimensions of wellness that we should all be aware of.
The Wellness Approach
What is Wellness?
Wellness is a positive approach to living that emphasises the whole person. It is the integration of the body, mind and spirit; and the appreciation that everything you do, think, feel, and believe has an impact on your state of health.
Wellness, as a state of health, is closely associated with your lifestyle. Each person has a responsibility to provide for such health essentials as good nutrition, proper weight control, exercise, and controlling of risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. These things all play a role in wellness.
You can learn more about how to live a healthier life right here on this website. Explore the Your Health Section