27 May 2013

Rise in diabetes due to reluctance to change -Tonga advocate for women and children

5:11 am on 27 May 2013

An advocate for women and children in Tonga says the rate of diabetes is growing because many people are reluctant to change their eating habits.

A newly released study on youth diabetes by the University of the South Pacific in Tonga has found diabetes is on the rise and most young people don't realise there is no cure.

The Director of the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children, Fuiva Kavaliku says she actively encourages women to prepare healthy food for their families.

She says awareness about non-communicable diseases has been around for 20 years, but many people aren't willing to change their lifestyles and mindsets.

"For me I believe that people need to change their attitude towards things that we had believed in before. Like for instance Tongan people of course love to eat and they love their food. And they believe that if you don't give food to people that visit, you're not a good host and you're not a Tongan."

Fuiva Kavaliku says people need more education about what types of food are healthy and what to avoid.