Diabetes crisis grows as one in seven babies born with the disease

    One out of seven Tongan babies is born with diabetes.

    This startling claim is one of the highlights of Tonga Mo’ui Lelei, which airs on Tongan television tonight (November 10).

    President of the Tonga Diabetic Association Dr. Taniela Palu said diabetes was a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.

    He said 99.9% of Tongans were at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.

    Next  Monday (November 14) is World Diabetes Day.

    According to the Tonga Health report Path to Good Health, Tonga has one of the most at-risk populations in the world for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and obesity.

    In the introduction to the report, Health Minister Dr. Saia Ma’u Piukala said: “NCDs will continue to cripple our families, our communities and our nation unless we strong and decisive action.”

    The Minister said the kingdom was the first Pacific Island Country to launch a national NCD campaign.

    In 2007 it set up the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation (TongaHealth) to tackle the issue.

    Tonga was awarded the World Health Organisation’ Healthy Islands Recognition-Best Practice for the ‘Kau Mai Tonga’ women’s physical activity programme.

    Tonga’s Hala Fononga (National Strategy for Prevention and Control of NCDs 2015-2020) has four main goals. These are:

    • Tongan infants (age 2 and under) have a healthier start to life.
    • Tongans are leading healthier lifestyles, with a focus on children and adolescents.
    • Improved early detection, treatment and sustained management of people with or at high risk of NCDs.
    • Strengthened monitoring and surveillance supports evidence based action.

    According to the World health Organisation one of the main causes of obesity in the Pacific is the replacement of traditional foods with imported, processed food.

    In at least 10 Pacific island countries, more than 50% (and in some, up to 90%) of the population is overweight according to WHO surveys. The average age at which people develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease is getting lower.

    The main points

    • One out of seven Tongan babies is born with diabetes.
    • President of the Tonga Diabetic Association Dr. Taniela Palu said diabetes was a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.
    • He said 99.9% of Tongans were at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
    • Next Monday (November 14) is World Diabetes Day.

    For more information

    National Strategy for Prevention and Control of NCDs

    Pacific islanders pay heavy price for abandoning traditional diet

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here