Diabetes has been identiflied as a growing health concern in Papua New Guineatoday.
Diabetes is lifestyle disease, and according tothe Diabetes Association oPNG,the current and soon to be economic boom is a threat tothe health and way of life for many communities.
Diabetes or ‘sik suga’ as commonly known in Tok Pisin, is a growing concern in Papua New Guinea
According tothe Diabetes Association oPNG, it is estimated that 59, 000 people have diabetes, but only a very small number ofthem are awarethey have it. The commonest type of diabetes in PNG is type 2 diabetes. This is most common particularly afterthe age of 35- 40, and involves diet and exercise.
According to a research done in 2001 by medical experts from Australian’s James Cook University andthe University oPNG, ‘westernization’ is greatly contributing to diabetes, where eating habits and lifestyles change according to introduced western food products.
PNG’s Heart Specialist Dr Jack Amana has also stated that today, statistics of people having lifestyle diseases such as diabetes is not a true indication as most times people do not knowthey have it. They learn of it only whenthey get a medical check due to illness.
A visiting diabetes researcher Dr Gabriel Cousens who came tPNG early this year, said diabetes can be controlled and reduced if Papua New Guineas grow and consume more organic food over processed food.
And withthe economic boom looming overPNG, diabetes program coordinator with DAPNG, Francil Leo, saysthe increase in cash flow is likely to change people’s lifestyles and eating habits.Instead of eating fresh garden produce, people opt for fast food.
The Diabetes Association oPNG is encouraging Papua New Guineas to controltheir sugar and salt intake and engage in physical activities. People who are overweight have a higher chance of being diabetic and are susceptible to heart attacks, which can cause death.
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