18 Feb 2013

Trade angle discussed in Pacific fight against NCDs

5:02 am on 18 February 2013

The Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases, says a recent regional meeting of health and trade officials in Fiji highlighted the need for the two sectors to work closely together.

Dr Wendy Snowden says the experiences of Fiji and Samoa in controlling the import of fatty meats such as lamb flaps and turkey tails was discussed.

She says promoting healthy food by supporting agriculture and limiting unhealthy food by taxing imports are two ways to help people make better choices.

She says trade agreements can have a real impact on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

"The potential is there in the future for the problem to become much more severe if we don't make sure that during the negotiations for those trade agreements, that the possible impacts on NCDs are considered and mitigated in some way. So I think that we are fortunate that we are relatively early on in terms of having a trade agreement environment."

Dr Wendy Snowden