28 Mar 2012

Cook Islands Paramount chief hopes to set up a clinic for diabetes patients

11:23 am on 28 March 2012

A Cook Islands Paramount chief is hoping to set up a wellness clinic in her palace to test people for diabetes, and teach them how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Pa Marie Ariki says she's been startled by the population's diabetes statistics and wants every Cook Islander tested for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Almost 4 thousand people in the Cook Islands, from a population of the less than 11 thousand, suffer from diabetes or hypertension.

She says she wants to set up a wellness clinic out of her Mata Enua palace, where people can be taught how to make nutritious meals based on traditional Pacific foods, rather than imported food.

"What was our people like from the 1900s to the 1970s. There was no disease, no disease at all. Then you think why? Because they were eating healthy, they were walking everywhere, they were getting in the taro patch, they weren't drinking all these fizzy drinks, they were drinking coconut."

Pa Ariki says she hopes the government will help out, and also wants to see a ban on all fizzy drinks in schools.