Eating habits amongst Fijians needs to change: Dr Tukana

  17 Apr 2018

SUVA, 16 APRIL 2018 (FBC NEWS/FIJI TIMES) — Changes in eating habits amongst Fijians is causing an increase in non-communicable diseases in the country.

National Advisor for NCD Doctor Isimeli Tukana says this is a worry as people are resorting to fast foods daily.

“More mothers are working now, so it is a challenge for them to prepare food for the family because there is a factor coming in. They need to go and earn money so hopefully through the media, we can help women’s groups on how a working mother can make healthy food for the family and go to work at the same time.”

He says parents play a huge role in promoting healthy eating at home so they must ensure healthy meals are prepared.

Dr Tukana said the Health Ministry will work closely with different media organisations to ensure reporting on NCD and eating habits are done to raise awareness on healthy food choices.

Meanwhile, education on media literacy is an important component of this fight against diabetes, Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and other health issues of national interest.

Media Watch Group (MWG) project officer Mereoni Raivalita said this in her presentation at a Diabetes Advocacy Workshop at the Holiday Inn in Suva last week.

Raivalita said the health of the mass media public was important and what they read, watch on television or hear on radio was critical in shaping their mind-set.

“Citizens must be educated on how to discern what’s good for them and what’s harmful to them,” Raivalita said.

The workshop which was attended by representatives of various organisations and stakeholders in Fiji aims to map out a strategy on how best Diabetes Fiji, the Ministry of Health, Media Houses, Religious Institutions and relevant CSOs could address the growing rate of diabetes in the country using social and traditional media.

Raivalita said while the media was an important tool in the fight against diabetes, it could also contribute negatively to the health of people through the portrayal of unhealthy lifestyles and the power of advertising.

She said while the media was an important tool in the fight against diabetes, it could also contribute negatively to the health of people through the portrayal of unhealthy lifestyles and the power of advertising.

Ravalita said through MWG’s media monitoring, they had noticed that the media often highlighted health issues during certain times of the year when awareness is created, especially when there is an outbreak or when cost is associated with a disease or sickness.

She said the media had a responsibility to the nation on this issue and must play a pro-active role at all times on diabetes, a disease that affects all sectors of the population.

Ravalita said through MWG’s media monitoring, they had noticed that the media often highlighted health issues during certain times of the year when awareness is created, especially when there is an outbreak or when cost is associated with a disease or sickness.

She said the media had a responsibility to the nation on this issue and must play a pro-active role at all times on diabetes, a disease that affects all sectors of the population.

She said television, like radio and newspapers could utilise the direct visual effect they had on viewers with talk back shows and air documentaries on those living with diabetes to capture their stories of hope, values and messages that can be lessons for others in society.

“We have a responsibility to live healthy lives for the sake of our younger generation and our future. MWG stands ready to serve the public in educating them on the importance of being responsible media users.”

MWG will continue to reach out to citizens using its community networks and educate them on the proper use of the media on living healthy lifestyles to avoid diabetes.  PACNEWS