23 May 2013

Tongan doctor says healthy food must be affordable to tackle diabetes

1:58 pm on 23 May 2013

The Chief Medical Officer in Tonga says healthy food must be more affordable if the country is to fight the growing rate of diabetes.

A newly released study on youth diabetes by the University of the South Pacific in Tonga has revealed the disease is on the rise and most young people don't realise there is no cure.

The Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, Dr Malakai Ake says diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are the biggest public health threats in Tonga.

He says people know a high consumption of junk foods can lead to the disease but they prefer it because healthy food is more expensive.

"We know what to do but you know it's health promotion for the people to live a healthy lifestyle. Plus we must try and develop at the policy making level, they should try and develop a policy so that it will create an environment where healthy food is cheaper to buy and make the typical unhealthy food and cigarettes and that to be more expensive."

Dr Malakai Ake says law makers in the country should make healthy food duty free and increase the tax on unhealthy food.