22 Feb 2019

Pacific child obesity: 'we don't want adults burying their children'

9:50 am on 22 February 2019

A leading academic at Fiji National University says childhood obesity has become such a problem in the Pacific that some children may have shorter lives than their parents.

Children take part in the Nobesity Samoa programme

Children take part in the Nobesity Samoa programme Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

William May said childhood obesity is a growing problem in the region, affecting their health and also increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Dr May said action in areas like physical activity promotion, reducing children's exposure to food marketing, taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages and boosting child obesity surveillance is sorely needed.

He said strong political will is needed.

"We really are not taking this lightly in addressing obesity in children. The fear that we have is that we don't want adults burying their children."

Dr May said some research from Wallis and Futuna has shown sustained intervention through schools can produce positive results.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs