8 Aug 2011

Journalists tackle reporting on lifestyle diseases

10:15 am on 8 August 2011

Journalists at a regional forum in Tonga say warning the public about deadly lifestyle diseases is hard when so many people enjoy smoking and drinking alcohol.

Fifteen reporters from ten Pacific Islands will attend a Pacific Non Communicable Diseases Forum in Nukualofa this week.

Federated States of Micronesia journalist Bill Jaynes says it's hard to write about NCDs in his country because the information is rarely available from health officials.

He says tackling the issue is already difficult as diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart conditions are derived from lifestyle behaviours enjoyed by a lot of people.

"Smoking, drinking all those things that we do, its fun stuff. So how do you just say well one day it's going to kill me and wake up one morning and just say 'I'm going to stop these things that I enjoy so much'. And that's exactly what needs to happen. So I'm hoping that by the time we get done with this seminar that we'll have a better idea of how we can help the departments of health to do their job better."