5 Jun 2017

Barriers remain in Cooks' NCD battle

1:29 pm on 5 June 2017

Programmes in Cook Islands schools that teach healthy lifestyles in an effort to combat a crisis of non-communicable diseases appear to be working, but there are barriers holding back their success.

That's according to research being undertaken by a University of Auckland project with the Cook Islands authorities.

One of the project's members is masters student Heimata Herman, who is surveying students at her former school before and after the programme to see how their attitudes change.

Public health sign in the Cook Islands

Public health sign in the Cook Islands Photo: RNZI / Walter Zweifel

She said students are already reporting that their habits have improved, but some factors - such as parents - can sometimes hold back progress.

"It is a combination of factors," Ms Herman said.

"A lot of them said they do acknowledge that parents have control over the foods that are available in their homes and what's more important here is that students are actually saying 'I'm actually what I'm learning at school and sharing that with my families and friends back at home'."

Ms Herman said the programme was showing early success, but it will take many years for there to be any drastic change.