PAPUA New Guinea’s economic boom is contributing to an increase in lifestyle diseases including diabetes, senior health officials have warned.
Speaking last Saturday in Port Moresby to mark the World Diabetes Day, Department of Health deputy secretary Dr Paison Dakulala warned that the failure to put in place mechanisms to address lifestyle diseases could have a “tsunami” effect on the country.
“If we are inactive, if we eat fast food like, big rooster and all the other food that contains sugar and salt and all of that – if we are not careful with that then what happens is that we are building for a tsunami that can come in and affect us so while we have our economic boom, we will also have that boom of a rise in non-communicable disease and diabetes would be at the highest level,” he told participants after they completed a walkathon.
Smoking, unhealthy diet, harmful alcohol use and lack of physical activity were the main risk factors in PNG that are contributing to the increase in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.
In fact, according to Dr Dakulala, PNG leads the Pacific Island states in smoking with 44 percent of the adult population and 43 percent of 13-25 year-olds smoking.
A health survey also reveals that 98.9 percent of the PNG population ignore the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables.
“What do these figures imply to us? It shows that PNG has high risk factors of non-communicable diseases. It is estimated that by 2025 PNG would have an increase in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases,” he added.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr Paulinus Sikosana gave a global perspective of the impact of diabetes, emphasising that last year the disease caused about 4.8 million deaths alone with 371 million living with it.
On PNG he said the diabetes prevalence rate in PNG is estimated to be 5.44 percent which equates to about 5230 adults dying of diabetes annually.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls these are very staggering figures,” he added and stressed that one in every two people with diabetes did not know they have it.
Last Saturday’s walkathon was organised by the Diabetes Association of PNG in partnership with Hope Worldwide(PNG), NCD Health Services, Department of Health and City Pharmacy Ltd. Post Courier
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