18 Nov 2014

CNMI boost efforts to fight non-communicable diseases

4:29 pm on 18 November 2014

Health authorities in the Northern Marianas say they are launching a campaign to address the problem of non-communicable diseases because 70 percent of deaths there can be attributed to NCDs.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation has scheduled a meeting with community leaders and industry professionals for next month in order to launch a Non-Communicable Disease Alliance.

More screening clinics are also being opened across the CNMI.

The CHC Medical Director John Doyle says issues like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are becoming more of a problem and earlier with 45 percent of seven-to-ten year olds classed as obese.

Dr Doyle says a three-pronged education, screening and treatment programme has started to reverse the trend towards unhealthy lifestyles.

He says the education will be based on going back to their cultural roots.

"Pacific Islanders, in general, in the past have had actually a healthy diet. We're talking about folks that eat fish, people that walk a lot, people that do get a lot of exercise, people that have a lot of vegetables and fruits in their diet, just customarily, and we've got away from that because when we quote 'modernised them' end quote, we brought in junk food and basically destroyed their culture."