Combating NCD’s through Consumer Empowerment

BACKGROUND

In Fiji, one of the major risks to our population is the rising crisis of non-communicable diseases (NCD’s). In recent decades, NCD’s having become the biggest killer in Fiji, causing thousands of deaths every year – many of those deaths premature – and affecting the lives of many more. Around 80% of deaths in Fiji are caused by an NCD and those numbers are growing. There are many risk factors that make consumers vulnerable to NCDs. There are those you can control, these are known as ‘modifiable risk factors’ and include;

  • Tobacco use – Smoking puts you at higher risk
  • Physical Inactivity – Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy diet – high in salt, sugar, fat and processed foods
  • Alcohol – drinking too much puts you at higher risk

 

These unhealthy lifestyle habits lead to four key changes in your body that increase your risk of NCDs, these are known as ‘intermediate risk factors’ and include;

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Being overweight or obese
  • High blood sugar levels (Hyperglycemia)
  • High blood cholesterol/levels of fat in blood (Hyperlipidemia)

 

Many Fijians are not taking an active approach to NCD prevention through a healthy lifestyle, which is causing a worrying increase in NCDs in Fiji. About 95% of NCDs are due to lifestyle choices. Consumer’s day-to-day decisions, what consumers do, what consumers eat, have a huge impact on consumer’s health.

AIM

The main aim of our project is to inform consumers that the power of combating NCD’s is in their hands and that this power is in the form of choices that they make on a daily basis. What bad foods not to consume? What bad habits to do away with? What to budget for? We would like to focus or campaigning with the rural poor; those that live in traditional village communities away from the town centres – we want to take this message to them.