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Wednesday 6 April 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National


Free health checks available
Punanga Nui Market manager William Taripo was one of the many people who took advantage of the free health check a couple of years ago. PHOTO: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 20111303

Screening sessions for non-communicable diseases will be held today as part of World Health Day.

The screenings, which are available from 9am to 12 noon at Terevete Park come off the back of the Cook Islands population recording incredibly high rates for non-communicable diseases.

Health Promotion Officer Tania John said while the Covid-19 pandemic “showed us the healing power of science, it also highlighted the inequities in our world”.

“Our political, social and commercial decisions are driving the climate and health crisis to a wave of increasing obesity, cancer and heart disease,” John said.

John said in Rarotonga during 2019 to 2020, Te Marae Ora conducted a non-communicable disease screening, in which 2805 females (which is 51 per cent) from the age groups of 15 – 64 years, were diagnosed with stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

A total of 2695 males (which is 49 per cent) from the same age groups were also diagnosed with stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes

“In addition, Aitutaki also conducted a health screening in 2021 in which 89 per cent of people screened were overweight: 65 per cent of those who were overweight were obese,” John said.

“In the Cook Islands today, Te Marae Ora is urging people that we all need to break these cycles of destruction, for the planet and human health requires legislative action, initiate reform and individuals to be well supported to make healthy lifestyle choices.”