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"Healthy Cities" Could Help More Fijians Live Past 50

Mon, 12 Apr 2010 08:53:3

Ana Tudrau-Tamani - AHN News Fiji Correspondent

Suva, Fiji (AHN) - Only 16 per cent of Fiji's population lives beyond the age of 50 while 8 per cent live beyond 60 years, according to the country's health minister.

Dr Neil Sharma made the comments while officiating at the World Health Day launch in Suva.

"We are experiencing sedentary lifestyles, consuming concentrated fast foods rich in fats. We no longer sweat in the garden," he said.

"Our children are encouraged to remain indoors, watch cartoons on television and grow obese," Sharma continued.

"Physical activity is curtailed and the net effect is a premature and high incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer," he added.

Sharma noted the World Health Organization has initiated the concept of healthy cities at a global level.

In some countries and cities, a societal approach has helped address these issues of ill health, he said. "Cities have transformed the quality of the lives of its citizens. Practical measures to convert the city environment have had positive impacts and we can learn many lessons."

The concept of healthy cities he said, cannot be advanced unless we have a whole society approach, he said.

"Healthy Cities can contribute to better quality of living for its citizens," Sharma added.

He said cities in Fiji can undertake some of these healthy concepts and the health ministry is already implementing some measures in the main towns of Suva, Lautoka, Nadi and Labasa.

Some of these measures include health outreach clinics during large public gatherings and regular physical activity in the form of organized ministry of health walks.

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