Fijian Diabetes Epidemic

According to the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised alarm over an “epidemic” of obesity in Fiji, which increases the risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

UNICEF Pacific Representative Jonathan Veitch said two-thirds of adults in Fiji are already overweight or obese and the number of overweight children is also increasing rapidly in the country.

More than a third of those aged five to 19 years old are overweight, including 7.7 percent of children under the age of five, Veitch said, adding that people who suffer from overweight are at a greater risk of developing NCDs, such as hypertension and diabetes, which is already very high in Fiji.

He said the country faces a triple burden of malnutrition where under-nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight obesity coexist with diet-related NCDs.

Food system transformation should happen in every community, household, school, and workplace, which requires multi-stakeholder approach, the official emphasized.