Last Updated on 2 years by Publishing Team
Wellness Fiji and Diabetes Fiji Hope Higher Sugar Prices Will Reduce Consumption
Given the severe negative health effects of overconsuming sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sugar-filled processed foods, Wellness Fiji and Diabetes Fiji hope that the increase in sugar prices will curb sugar consumption by members of the public and promote healthier alternatives, such as natural honey.
Pacific Island Countries suffer some of the highest rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, in the world. In Fiji, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services attributes 5,700 deaths in 2020 due to complications related to NCDs. The total burden of NCDs on Fijian society –– due to lost hours of work and healthcare needs –– is estimated to be $406 million annually, according to the Economic Burden Report Fiji, 2018.
“The overconsumption of sugar, salt, oil, and processed foods are all major contributors to the prevalence of NCDs in Fiji –– a crisis that is claiming lives and creating serious suffering for many Fijians. It’s a shame that these unhealthy options fill consumer shopping baskets when Fiji has so many fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutritious food options. Changing consumer habits is a slow-going but essential effort that helps to build a more nutrition secure Fiji. Programs, like the ‘Grow Your Own Food”, a home gardening initiative, by the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the MHMS, the “Grow Your Own Food” booklet, and the My Kana app (available on Play Store) are excellent ways forward. And we hope, over the long-term, to see unhealthy options, like sugar, fall to more responsible levels of consumption,” said the Head of Wellness Fiji, Dr. Devina Nand.
“Diabetes is among the most devastating of NCDs and high sugar intake makes this disease more prevalent and severe among our people across gender and ethnicity. 2013-2018 outpatient data recorded more than 176,000 patients treated for diabetes in Fiji. That is a crisis. We welcome any measures that address the contributing factors to diabetes and will continue to advocate fiercely for healthier, more nutrition-secure consumption from Fijians,” said Mr. Viliame Qio of Diabetes Fiji Inc.
Wellness Fiji is the implementing body of the Fiji Policy on Food and Nutrition Security and the National Wellness Policy for Fiji, and the development of the new Wellness and NCD prevention and Control Strategic plan which are national-level multi-sectoral instruments that groups outside the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MOHMS) can use to advocate for and protect Fijian health and wellness.
Diabetes Fiji is a non-profit organization that strives to achieve a healthier environment and education for people with or at risk with diabetes.