The tide of dietary risks for noncommunicable diseases in Pacific Islands: an analysis of population NCD surveys

Reeve, Erica, Lamichhane, Prabhat, McKenzie, Briar, Waqa, Gade, Webster, Jacqui, Snowdon, Wendy and Bell, Colin (2022) The tide of dietary risks for noncommunicable diseases in Pacific Islands: an analysis of population NCD surveys. BMC Public Health, 22 (1). ISSN 1471-2458


The tide of dietary risks for noncommunicable diseases in Pacific Islands: an analysis of population NCD surveys Erica Reeve Prabhat Lamichhane Briar McKenzie Gade Waqa Jacqui Webster Wendy Snowdon Colin Bell Abstract Objective

To describe changes over time in dietary risk factor prevalence and non-communicable disease in Pacific Island Countries (PICTs).

Secondary analysis of data from 21,433 adults aged 25–69, who participated in nationally representative World Health Organization STEPs surveys in 8 Pacific Island Countries and Territories between 2002 and 2019. Outcomes of interest were changes in consumption of fruit and vegetables, hypertension, overweight and obesity, and hypercholesterolaemia over time. Also, salt intake and sugar sweetened beverage consumption for those countries that measured these.

Over time, the proportion of adults consuming less than five serves of fruit and vegetables per day decreased in five countries, notably Tonga. From the most recent surveys, average daily intake of sugary drinks was high in Kiribati (3.7 serves), Nauru (4.1) and Tokelau (4.0) and low in the Solomon Islands (0.4). Average daily salt intake was twice that recommended by WHO in Tokelau (10.1 g) and Wallis and Futuna (10.2 g). Prevalence of overweight/obesity did not change over time in most countries but increased in Fiji and Tokelau. Hypertension prevalence increased in 6 of 8 countries. The prevalence of hypercholesterolaemia decreased in the Cook Islands and Kiribati and increased in the Solomon Islands and Tokelau.

While some Pacific countries experienced reductions in diet related NCD risk factors over time, most did not. Most Pacific adults (88%) do not consume enough fruit and vegetables, 82% live with overweight or obesity, 33% live with hypertension and 40% live with hypercholesterolaemia. Population-wide approaches to promote fruit and vegetable consumption and reduce sugar, salt and fat intake need strengthening.
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