And the ministry’s promotions manager Karen Tairea says Cook Islands residents have an extra-high risk of developing diabetes due to their high obesity rate.
She says diabetes shares the same risk factors as many other Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs.)
“Changing behaviours, practices and attitudes are our biggest challenges.”
The Ministry of Health has been working closely with other organisations by promoting healthy living tips to schools, communities and the workplace.
Tairea says dietary, lifestyle counselling and quitting smoking programmes are also provided in the hospital for those who need them.
“There is always more that can be done; however, we are doing what we can with the resources we have.
“Having other organisations assisting would be good and also individuals need to take responsibility for their health as well – making the changes needed to stay healthy and if you have diabetes taking medications as prescribed and keeping doctors’ appointments.”
Tairea says it’s vital for people to exercise regularly to ensure they maintain a healthy weight.
‘If you have a family history of diabetes, get tested every year so you know your status.
“Eat healthy – more fruits and vegetables, cook more meals at home, eat less foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
“Choose more whole or natural foods and drink less alcohol.”