cover_lrThe Pacific Community (SPC) is releasing a potentially life-changing cookbook to promote healthy eating to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific Islands.

The Pasifika Plates cookbook has been launched today in Tonga at a high-level summit examining responses to the NCD crisis in the Pacific region.

Up to 75 per cent of deaths in Pacific countries are related to NCDs, such as diabetes and heart diseases, with unhealthy diets and lifestyles seen as important factors in their development.

Many Pacific Islanders are turning away from their healthy and nutritious local foods in favour of nutrient-poor, packaged foods that are high in unhealthy fats and added salt and sugar.

This new cookbook presents an innovative way to promote healthy eating in the Pacific.

Produced by SPC’s Public Health Division, it supports connections between agriculture and good health by highlighting the “grow local, eat local” message and promotes livelihood opportunities for local farmers by creating awareness and demand for nutritious local produce.

“Poor quality food is making people sick, and young Pacific generations are growing up in this environment,” the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said.

“Pasifika Plates encourages Pacific people to return to their culinary roots, literally, by emphasising and promoting traditional crops and other nutritious foods that thrive on their islands.

“By promoting healthy food choices, SPC hopes Pasifika Plates will empower individuals in their efforts to prevent and control diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

“We also hope it will encourage people in the Pacific to take pride in the food our land and oceans provide and encourage healthy lifestyles,” Dr Tukuitonga added.

Pasifika Plates contains over 40 delicious recipes from around the islands, easy health and nutrition tips, a gardening guide, special contributions from well-known Pacific chefs like Robert Oliver and Dom Samsom, and photos that showcase the natural beauty of our local produce.

SPC acknowledges the support of the Australian Government, Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services and colleagues from around the region, who have contributed to producing Pasifika Plates.

The first ever Pacific NCD Summit, from 20-22 June, is a collaboration between the Kingdom of Tonga and SPC, supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Aid Programme, the Government of the United States, the World Bank, the World Diabetes Foundation, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The 50-page cookbook is available online or hard copies may be ordered from SPC headquarters in Noumea from [email protected] (postage and handling charges apply).

Media contacts:
Solène Bertrand-Protat, NCD Officer, SPC,  [email protected]  or (Tonga mobile) +676 77 72 148
Lauren Robinson, SPC Media Relations Team Leader, [email protected] or (Tonga mobile) +676 842 1812

Useful links:
You can also download Pasifika Plates
Pacific NCD Summit, 20-22 June 2016