SUVA, Fiji—“Having local fresh produce available for purchase makes it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Take your kids and grandkids to the store and have them help with the shopping so they learn about good choices,” recommends Annabel Lyman from Palau.
“I entered the contest because I am and have always been rather passionate about making healthy choices for my family,” she says.
Lyman is one of four winners announced in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s “Focus on Non-Communicable Diseases in the Pacific” photography competition. Her entry creatively demonstrated the link between the environment and NCDs with a photo of her 5 year-old grandson making healthy choices at the grocery store.
NCDs are the leading cause of death in the region, with Pacific Islanders dying prematurely from heart diseases, cancers, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes. The Pacific Islands region is also the epicenter of obesity, with five Pacific nations ranking among the top 10 globally.
The regional competition, launched during World Diabetes Day (Nov. 14) last year, aimed to bring into focus the immense impact that NCDs have on Pacific Islands economies and homes as well as how they can be prevented and managed.
The competition received widespread interest, with more than 40 entries across four main categories: NCD Prevention; Social Impacts of NCDs; Links Between our Environment and NCDs; and Culture and NCD Prevention.
Christopher Surla from Guam won the NCD prevention category with a photo highlighting the importance of physical activity in NCD prevention.
“This photo was taken during the World Health Day Diabetes Alert Day. The picture shows mostly government of Guam employees enjoying group fitness through the Worksite Wellness Program. I entered this competition to highlight some of the great work that the Guam Non-Communicable Disease Consortium is doing,” Surla said.
Caroline Apaisam’s winning photo from the Federated States of Micronesia demonstrated the social impact of NCDs.
“Where I live, smoking is one of the leading cause of NCD and not much is done to eliminate it,” she said.
The Culture and NCD Prevention category was won by 14 year-old Raine Kalotiti from Vanuatu with an image of youth learning to surf.
“This is the first time that SPC’s Public Health Division has organized a photo contest on NCDs and we are really pleased with the enthusiastic response received. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and we will use these images in our campaigns to raise more awareness of these diseases that are currently responsible for more deaths in the region than any other cause or ailment,” SPC’s Non-Communicable Diseases Officer Solene Bertrand-Protat said.
Keeping in theme with the focus of the competition, each winner receives a connected wristband to track their physical activity. In addition, all participants will walk away with the “Pasifika Plates” recipe book produced by SPC. (SPC)