20 Jun 2016

First Pacific summit to address leading cause of death

9:50 am on 20 June 2016

The first regional conference on the Pacific's leading cause of death is underway in Tonga's capital, Nuku'alofa.

Billboards erected for smokefree campaign in Tonga.

Billboards erected for smokefree campaign in Tonga. Photo: supplied

Leaders and partners from around 14 different countries have gathered for the first Pacific Non-Communicable Diseases summit.

A global nutrition report released last week showed Pacific countries were making no progress in implementing healthy diet policies despite having the highest number of obese and diabetic people.

Paula Vivili, the Pacific Community's Director of Public Health, disagrees with some figures in the report and said a regional NCD Roadmap produced in 2014 means many Pacific governments are actively trying to combat the problem.

"The Pacific is not referred to often as the NCD's capital in the world for no reason and there's been a lot of work that's been done. Obviously more needs to be done if we were to make a difference," he said.

"Hence, [why we've] taken this opportunity to bring together leaders and partners to have a discussion about it."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs