The Pacific Islands region has some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, with obesity prevalence as high as 75 per cent and diabetes rates as high as 47 per cent in some countries. Increasing reliance on imported foods, among other factors, has contributed to an ‘epidemic’ of obesity and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region. In 2011, Pacific Island Forum Leaders, as part of the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué, declared the Pacific in crisis due to the NCD epidemic.

In January 2017, SPC’s Public Health Division developed Healthy Catering Guidelines: Guidelines for Serving Healthy Food and Drinks at SPC Events to promote healthier eating habits among staff, and motivate other national and regional organisations to lead by example when it comes to the fight against NCDs.

SPC conducts training and educational workshops around the region every day and we identified that we did not have any policy on food and nutrition to guide caterers on healthy foods. Often there is morning tea, followed by lunch and then afternoon tea, and participants get distracted after eating heavy meals, which are high in salts and sugar’, said SPC Non-communicable diseases Adviser, Solène Bertrand-Protat.

The guidelines recommend offering a variety of nutritious foods that are low in fat, salt and sugar, restrictions on portions and fried foods, and encourages use of locallysourced products to support the local economy and help protect the environment.

Promoting healthy food and drink choices at SPC events leads to general improvement in eating habits, an increase in productivity at work, and sends a message about the importance of healthy eating. Furthermore, the guidelines are a testament to SPC’s commitment to addressing the NCDs crisis in the region’, added Ms Bertrand-Protat.

Healthy Catering Guidelines have been developed to provide practical information and tips on serving healthier food and drinks at SPC events. These guidelines are designed to make healthy choices easy choices and to help build a healthy environment in our workplace.

For further information or if you would like a copy of Healthy Catering Guidelines, contact SPC’s Public Health Division Tel: (679) 337.9380 | Ext: 35380