16 Apr 2012

Health messages not getting through in Marshall Islands

10:40 am on 16 April 2012

A health spokesperson in the Marshall Islands says despite up to ninety per cent of the population having symptoms of diabetes, they still don't eat a balanced diet.

The non communicable diseases co-ordinator, Shra Kedi, says research reported in the British Medical Journal linking increased consumption of white rice with diabetes is unsurprising.

She says poverty leads many Marshall Islanders to eat a lot of white rice and hardly anyone has brown rice.

She says most people ignore health warnings and don't change their lifestyle habits until they get really sick.

"People like to eat a lot of rice and meat but they don't put those vegetables in their meat or fruit in their meals. And then their lifestyle is more of it, they don't exercise after eating the meal. They go to sleep, that's it. They watch TV or they drive around the car or you know, its the lifestyle for sure."

Shra Kedi says even many young people in Marshall Islands have pre diabetes symptoms.