25 Feb 2016

Tonga to tackle food culture to curb NCD epidemic

5:26 pm on 25 February 2016

Tackling Tonga's food culture will be a major focus in the government's latest plan to curb NCDs, the chief executive of the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation says.

An obese child eats a hamburger

Photo: 123rf

Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva this week launched the third National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.

Mr Pohiva said despite Tonga being the first in the region to formulate its own scheme to reduce the NCD problem, numbers had increased.

About 99 percent of Tonga's adult population are impacted by NCDs, according to the government's latest statistics.

Tonga Health Promotion Foundation CEO Seini Filiai said diet and nutrition would be a major focus in the five-year plan.

"Of course our food culture is very difficult to break. But we try and work with the churches, with schools, with specific villages. It's difficult but I believe when we can do make a difference."