Friday, March 15

Public health carnival on Rarotonga

Pacific islands, including the Cooks, have a real problem with obesity.
More than 80% of Cook Islanders are overweight and this can lead to non-communicable diseases – NCDs - like diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes.
To push home a healthy living message, public health staff recently organised an NCD Awareness Carnival in the middle of Avarua.
The road through the centre of town was blocked off with a number of free activities available.
There was plenty of fresh food available and and vegetable seedlings and fruit trees were being sold by both the agriculture department and Tereora college students.
People queued up for free health checks checking height, weight, blood sugar and blood pressure. The health department will be following up anyone showing danger signs.
On the exercise front, school kids took part in football and rugby related activities.
But the highlight was a mass zumba street party with hundreds, young and old, local and tourist, joining in despite the heat.
The carnival was part of an awareness campaign challenging Cook Islanders to “Live 5:30” – eat 5 servings of fruit and veges and do 30 minutes of exercise each day.