Thursday, April 15

World Health Day in Rarotonga

Officially World Health Day is 7 April, a Wednesday, but here in the Cook Islands we celebrated it on Friday the ninth. Sounds odd but it made sense because the Public Health Department arranged free health checks, sports demonstrations and plenty of activities for people to have a go at. On a fine sunny Friday people are more inclined to get out and try things. It feels like ‘the weekend starts here’.
There was a good turnout, eight sports and plenty of people watching or taking part but honestly the folks down at health have got their work cut out.
The Pacific has some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world and with more people, especially kids, passing by lovely local fresh fruits and nu in favour of chocolate, chips and fizzy drinks the problem won’t be going away.
Nearly 160 people aged between 17 and 80 years took advantage of the health checks. Over 90% of these were either overweight or obese! On the positive side, the blood pressure results were good with only about ten percent having high blood pressure (hypertension).
Those who had the checks and joined in some of the activities are obviously thinking about their health and the Fight-Do and Zumba sessions in particular show how much fun keeping active can be.
One old grouch definitely wasn’t there. He complained to the local paper saying it was disgusting that the main road was closed off without warning when there were plenty of sports fields and indoor arenas where the event could have been held.
In fact there had been stories and adverts about the road closure in the paper, on television and no doubt on the radio as well. Having it in the centre of town meant that more people could see and join in. There would have been far fewer participants between 11am to 2pm at the stadium or sports arena. Public Health’s job is to spread the good health message and they did it well but it clearly it didn’t reach Grouchy who no doubt remains glued to the seat of his car like a mobile couch potato. And I bet it is a ‘he’. Women have got more sense!