14 Nov 2006

Tonga's chief medical officer says Tonga needs to do more to fight diabetes

11:03 am on 14 November 2006

Tonga's Chief Medical Officer for Public Health, Dr Malakai Ake, says the country needs to do much more to combat diabetes.

Today is World Diabetes Day and this year the World Health Organisation and its partner, the International Diabetes Federation or IDF, are pushing the theme of ''Diabetes Care for Everyone".

The WHO says Pacific countries can help reduce diabetes by introducing legislation which supports healthy lifestyles.

This comes as the director of the International Diabetes Institute at Melbourne's Monash University, Paul Zimmet, says escalating rates of the disease could wipe out Pacific and other populations.

But Dr Malakai Ake says they are struggling to convince politicians to pass legislation which supports that lifestyle interventions and healthy living habits.

"To try and formulate policies that will create an environment, a supportive environment for the promotion of healthy lifestyle. But there is still a lack of support, and 18 per cent of the adult population have diabetes it is growing beyond epidemic proportion."