New Fiji program aims to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases

An array of healthy food items including vegetables and grains
Australian Dental Association
24 May 2024
7 min read
Oral health

In light of the fact that noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for over 80% of deaths in Fiji, the Government has launched the National Policy on Healthy Catering for Government Ministries and Institutions, which the Fiji Dental Association (FDA) is supporting with a particular focus on oral health.

The policy stresses the importance of encouraging healthy eating habits, with a particular stress on the consumption of local foods and an avoidance of imported heavily processed food items, with the goal of reducing NCDs such as heart disease and heart attacks which are prevalent in the country.

There will also of course be a flow-on effect on peoples’ oral health, and while the policy is only in force in government establishments, the hope is that everyone will take the message onboard and adopt far healthier eating patterns than are currently the case.

In an article carried by the FDI World Dental Federation, of which the ADA is an active long-term member, the FDA is interviewed about the importance of the policy and strategies that it believes will contribute to healthier eating patterns among the population.

The Association, along with FDI overall, is acutely mindful of the fact that "it is imperative to uphold oral health as a fundamental component of the common risk factor approach and the NCD agenda."

While the FDA did not have direct involvement in the development of the policy, they told FDI that “we had long recognized [sic] the importance of addressing nutritional needs and had taken steps internally to address these issues in our past conferences and branch meetings.”

Further, "oral health professionals were aware of the connection between diet, oral health and the whole body and will offer guidance or support in promoting healthier eating habits to prevent dental issues."

“Overall”, the FDA believes “by addressing dietary factors that contribute to poor oral health, such as high sugar intake, this policy has the potential to positively impact oral health outcomes across Fiji.”

Read the full interview