Lifestyle diseases

Lifestyle Diseases Articles

There are many diseases that contribute immensely to the burden placed on a person, a family, a society and a country, and despite advances in medicine, the number of people with such diseases continues to increase with people dying younger. In a newspaper article dated back two years stated that in June the previous year, Pacific health ministers had declared a non-communicable disease (NCD) crisis because it was revealed that the Pacific was breeding a generation of obese children, an inactive population with the transition in lifestyle (Vula, 2012).

Non-communicable diseases as many people know are also called chronic or lifestyle diseases and are not passed from person to person. These diseases are of longer duration and generally slow progression (WHO, 2013). Risks for such chronic or non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, all pose a threat to our livelihood with a shorter lifespan for our future generations. This essay will look at Lifestyles diseases initially looking at its trend followed by its effects on the population and as a final point a few solutions to its effects on the population.

These diseases have an impact on national economies by reducing quantity and productivity. According to a survey done by WHO (2011), NCDs are estimated to account for 77percent of deaths in the country in which 42percent died of cardiovascular diseases, 12percent died of cancer, 6percent of respiratory diseases, 4percent of diabetes and 13percent of other ncds but in the organizations latest survey (2014) on NCD-related deaths in the country, it was discovered that the mortality rate instigated by NCDs increased from 77percent to 80percent i. e. 35percent died of cardiovascular diseases, 11percent died of cancer, 5percent of chronic respiratory disease,16percent of diabetes and 13percent of other ncds. Looking at the figures mentioned above, it is seen that the percentage mortality rate for diabetes increased greatly over the past three years from 4percent to 16percent.

”The rise in non-communicable disease related deaths in Fiji is worse than in Australia and New Zealand. This was revealed by co-founder of the Viseisei Sai Medical Centre and former University professor Dr Rajat Gyaneshwar at a medical conference at the University of Fiji at Saweni in Lautoka. Dr Gyaneshwar said part of the reason for this was that the mortality rate related to NCDs in Fiji continued to rise over the past few years” (Nasiko, 2012). Before determining the effects of NCDs one needs to first understand the causes of NCDs, bringing this closer to home and from personal experiences to help understand the risk factors of such diseases. The day to day meal consumed by a villager in the good old days of vegetables freshly picked from the backyard farms, the freshwater mussels from the river, and fish from the sea and the freshly picked fruits such as mangoes and papayas from the tree.

Passed down stories from older relatives who would often reminisce the good old days where great grandparents had a life in the village free from pollution, from obesity, and above all from such diseases that people are encountering in this day and age and where the elders get to live a life being able to enjoy seeing great grandchildren grow before ones demise due to old age. Great grandparents do not get to sit idle day in and day out glued to computers or television screens but get to enjoy the games at the village grounds, basking in the sun, fishing or swimming in the rivers or sea.

With the increasing interconnectedness of countries and the openness to ideas, people and financial, globalization drives such disease population risks and the negative health-related effects of this include the trend of ‘Nutrition Transition’ whereby the population is now consuming diets high in total energy, fats, salts and sugar as well as tobacco and other products with adverse effects on population health status. However, sadly enough, there is no escape to globalization and its effects on the people.

The WHO (n. d. ) mentioned that common modifiable risks factors include unhealthy diet and excessive energy intake, physical in activity and tobacco use. These risk factors contribute to raised blood level, raised glucose level, overweight and obesity. However, the main determinants of chronic diseases-the causes of the causes are a reflection of the major driving social, economic and cultural change with globalization, urbanization and poverty.

Dr Lisi Finiasi, the Medical officer in charge and chair of Diabetes Fiji in her medical report stated that Fiji is a developing country and about 80percent of people live in low and middle income countries and as people grow older, there will be more non-communicable diseases, more lifestyle problems. In the second of the 20th century, the proportion of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America living in urban areas arose from 16percent to 50percent.

Urbanization creates conditions in which people are exposed to new products, technologies, and marketing of unhealthy goods, and in which many adopt less physically active types of employment. Unplanned urban sprawl can further reduce physical activity levels by discouraging walking or cycling. (WHO, n. d. ) . The organization further revealed that globally, in 2005, it is estimated that over 1 billion people are overweight and that over 300 million people are obese.

Should this trend continue, average levels of body mass index are projected to increase in almost all countries and by 2015, it is estimated that over 1. 5 billion will be overweight. There is now widespread proof that from many countries that conditions before birth and in early childhood influence health in adult life. For example, low birth weight is now known to be associated with increased rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Ironically children cannot choose ones living environment including food consumed, living situation and such exposure to tobacco smoke.

In addition, children have very little ability to understand the long term effects of one’s behavior, yet it is at this crucial phase that many behaviors such as that concerning health are shaped. The WHO report also claimed that the rates of tobacco use among 13-15 year olds are higher than previously expected. According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey and Global School-based Student Health Survey, current tobacco use among males in this group is 29pecent in India, 21percent in Brazil and 14percent in China. Many children begin smoking before the age of 10years.

Panapasa (2008) stated “Non communicable diseases are real and are affecting people around Fiji. While some simply choose to ignore the devastating effect of these lifestyle diseases, government and other organizations are committed to promoting healthy living”. Dr Tukana (2012) stated that this is no longer the time to talk about the crisis but is the time to talk about solutions. It is important to note the food one eats- it is clearly written there how much salt or sodium is in that food and the challenge is to make people understand the subject.

People need to make the healthier choice the more affordable choice. (Devi, 2014) “Some primary interventions include health promotion basically promoting healthy living. ” (Dr Tuiketei, 2008). Other forms of preventing NCDs would be to decrease the amount of food consumed high in cholesterol and glucose, walking, exercising. Socializing, decrease alcohol consumption and smoking. It doesn’t have to be a full body workout just 30 minutes work will do” It’s just logic-if you know the cause of the disease, you should tackle the cause”.

(Dr Tukana, 2014) Confusion and long-held misunderstandings about the nature of such diseases, their prevalence, the population at risk, and the risk factors themselves are barriers to progress and prevention. What might have been true-or thought to be true-30, 20 or even 10 years ago is no longer the case. The WHO (n. d. ) report stated that the health of the world is generally improving, with fewer people dying from infectious diseases and therefore in many cases living long enough to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases.

Increase in the cause of chronic diseases , including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and tobacco use are leading to people developing chronic diseases at younger age in the increasingly urban environments of low and middle income countries. Distributing evidence of this impact in many of these countries is steadily growing. Many are ill equipped to handle the demands for care and treatment that chronic diseases place on their health systems and so people die at younger ages. [Approximately 1000 words].


  • Devi, S. , 2012. Alarm bells as diabetes forecast points to rise in cases. Fiji Times, Monday, 28 July. p. 3.
  • Gopal, A. , 2012. 76,130 people in Fiji have some of diabetes. Fiji Times, [online] Friday, 1 June. Available at: http://www. fijitimes. com/search. aspx? q=diabetes&cx=015317096082829226398%3ajirrqrjunq4&cof=FORID%3a11&ie=UTF-8. [Accessed on 1 August 2014].
  • Panapasa, G. , 2008. Living a healthy lifestyle, Fiji Times, [online] Available at: http://www. fijitimes. com/story. aspx? id=103235. [Accessed on 6 August 2014].
  • Sauvakacolo, S. , 2014. 4800 die from NCD. Fiji Times, Tuesday, 11 March. P. 8.
  • Vula, T. , 2012. Media for NCDs fight. Fiji Times, [online] Tuesday, 12 March. Available at: http://www. fijitimes. com/story. aspx? id=197006. [Accessed on 1 August 2014].
  • WHO. , 2013. NCD, WHO, [online] March. Available at: http://www. who. int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/. [Accessed on 5 August 2014].
  • WHO. , 2011. NCD Country Profile, WHO, [online] Available at: http://www. who. int/nmh/countries/2011/fji_en. pdf.

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