Health ministry raises concern over unhealthy diets

February 17, 2024 12:15 pm

The Ministry of Health is sounding the alarm on rising rates of unhealthy dietary practices among young people, calling for a collective effort to create healthier environments in schools and institutions.

Acting Permanent Secretary, Doctor Jemesa Tudravu, says low consumption of nutritious foods and high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages among the younger population is a worrying trend.

Doctor Tudravu says this puts young people at an increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

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“Three quarters of food outlets that are around schools display advertising for unhealthy foods like sugary drinks. This problem highlights our need to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, and the Ministry of Civil Service to ensure that environments where young people are in schools and institutions are protected from unnecessary exposure to unhealthy foods.”

Doctor Tudravu says they are also reviewing policies on health in school environments.

“We require to engage young people in entertaining and informative ways to ensure that they are empowered to make healthy food choices and are advocates of healthy food choices among their peers.”

Doctor Tudravu adds they are working together with various national sectors to promote and support healthy lifestyles from the legislative to the grassroots community level.