The Pacific Community (SPC) has published a handbook on Pacific healthy dietary guidelines for people with diabetes, which is intended for health professionals and educators who provide health advice on nutrition and dietetic interventions for people with diabetes in the region.
SPC’s Public Health Division (PHD) led consultations and development of this dietary guideline which is evidence-based and built on global recommendations and designed it to be culturally appropriate to all Pacific communities.
Dr Si Thu Win Tin, PHD’s team leader for the Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control programme said “Strengthening and empowering health professionals in the Pacific region to deliver evidence-based care for diabetes is paramount for improved health outcomes and reduced burden on individuals and communities in the Pacific”.
Diabetes mellitus remains a threat to the Pacific region. The International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas 2019 reported prevalence of diabetes in adults aged 20 – 79 years for the Western Pacific of approximately 11% and 8% worldwide. Some of the countries in the Pacific rank among countries in the world with highest diabetes prevalence. For example, American Samoa has approximately 47%, Niue 38% and FSM 35% aged 25-64 years.
Of more concern is uncontrolled diabetes leading to the high prevalence of diabetes complications such as blindness, heart diseases, kidney failure and limb amputations. For example, it has been reported that 52% of people in Fiji had eye problems due to diabetes, 42% of people with diabetes in PNG showed indicators of kidney failure while approximately 20% of deaths in Tonga are due to diabetes.
Making a difference in the outcomes of diabetes control calls for strategies and actions to improve health outcomes of people living with diabetes, through increased knowledge, provision of essential tools and guides for delivery of best quality care possible.
Dietary care is one of the cornerstones of diabetes prevention and diabetes management to avoid and/or delay development of complications.
The Pacific healthy dietary guidelines for people with diabetes is available in both English and French.
Evlyn Mani, Information and Communications Officer (PHD) | E: evlynm
Solene Bertrand, Non Communicable Diseases Adviser (PHD) | E: soleneb
Elisiva Na'ati, Non Communicable Diseases Adviser (PHD) | E: elisivan