A World Health Organisation official says the present generation need to make lifestyle changes now to avert the growing number of premature deaths in the Pacific caused by non communicable disease.
Dr. Baoping Yang has told a health summit in American Samoa that NCD's such as heart disease and diabetes now account for 80 percent of all deaths in the Pacific.
WHO data shows all Pacific Island countries are battling risk factors such as obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and inactivity.
Dr. Yang says today's population is paying for the choices made by earlier generations and changes are needed before it's too late.
"With increased investment in chronic disease prevention it will be possible to prevent 36-million pre-mature deaths in the next 10 years. Averting the deaths would in turn translate into substantial economic gains. The knowledge of health prevention of these diseases is available now. The way forward is clear it's our turn to take action."
The WHO's Dr. Baoping Yang.