Headline February 26, 2017/ ''' DAMN JUNK FOOD '''


AT  !WOW!'S PRESENT  HOST,  *PROUD PAKISTAN*,  I could bet you all any sum and anything,  that Students:

Merium, Rabo, Haleema, Eman, Dee, Saima, Sarah, Aqsa, Mayna, Haanyia and Merium

Hussain, Haider, Faizaan, Mustafa, Ibrahim, Hasaan,  { just like 9 out of 10 all other Pakistani students },  have never heard of a country, an   * Island Nation *  called,  Vanuatu.

But now they do.  And if you all do, then:

''Imagine if  75 million Americans    had diabetes   That's the scale of the epidemic we're talking about in  Vanuatu,''  Roger Magnusson, a professor of health law and governance at Sydney Law School in Australia, said in an email.  

*Some officials in the remote Pacific island nation of  Vanuatu are in for a rude gastronomic surprise*.

The imported cookies and sugary drinks that are typically served at government meetings in Torba, one of the country's most isolated provinces, are about to vanish.

Ditto, the imported noodles and and canned fish in Torba's tourist bungalows. And Enter local coconuts, lobster and lime juice.

The ban by Torba Tourism Council expected to take affect in March, will outlaw imported food at government functions and tourist establishments across the province's islands. 

It is an early step by the provincial leaders to turn Torba's 13 inhabited islands into havens of local organic food.

The move comes as many Pacific island nations struggle with an obesity crisis brought on partly by overconsumption of imported junk food. And it may be the start of a wider campaign.

''We want to ban all other   junk food   from this province,''   Luke Dini, the council's chairman and retired Anglican priest, said in a telephone interview. from Torba

He said the province has  9,000  residents and gets fewer than 1,000 tourists a year.

Mr. Dini said the pending ban was an effort to promote local agriculture and a response to increasing cases of  diabetes and other diseases that council members have observed in Vanuatu's capital,  Porta-Vila.

Passing a more comprehensive ban on  junk food  imports to Torba could take at least two years, he added, and a final decision on which products to ban would be made by the national government,

Public health experts who study the Pacific islands welcomed the ban, saying that the bold measures were necessary for an impoverished and isolated region of   10 million people.

One where the cost of  sending legions of patients abroad for dialysis treatment or kidney transplants is untenable.

''So can anyone seriously say that Vanuatu doesn't have the right to exercise its health sovereignty in every way possible to protect its population from an epidemic of that scale?''  adds Professor Magnusson.

Experts say the region's health crisis is primarily driven by decades-long shift from traditional diets based on root crops towards one that are high in sugar, refined starch and processed foods.

In a sign of how urgent the crisis is, the World bank said in a 2014 report that 52 percent of adults men in the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga were estimated to be obese  -the highest rate of 188 countries surveyed-

And that of the seven countries worldwide with female obesity rates of at least 50%, four were Pacific island nations : Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and the Federated states of Micronesia.

A study that year in the journal  *Diabetes research and  Clinical Practice said that 10 countries and territories in the region had diabetes rates of between  19 percent and 37 percent.

The rate in Vanuatu, which has a population of about 250,000 , was nearly 24 percent, the study said.

*By contrast, the diabetes rate in the United States was 9.3 percent*.

''It is so wrong what is being done to exploit these nations by providing a food supply that is not, in the long term, better for health,'' said Elaine Rush, a professor of nutrition at the  Auckland University of  Technology in New Zealand who has studied health problems in the Pacific islands.

Experts said there is a precedent in the region for policies to restrict imports of unhealthy products.

More than half of the 20 Pacific countries and territories monitored by the World Health Organization, including Vanuatu, have taxes for sugar sweetened beverages, said Dr. Wendy Snowdon, a W.H.O. official based in Suva, the capital of Fiji.

Some communities in the region have banned tobacco, she added, and Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, has banned imports of carbonated soft drinks.

An open question for Vanuatu, a member of the World Trade Organization, as whether it would face regulatory blowback if Torba were to pass a comprehensive junk food ban, experts said. 

As a cautionary example, they cited Samoa's 2007 ban on imports of turkey tails , a popular food that has a high fat content.

In 2011, as a condition for joining, the World Trade Organization ordered Samoa to eliminate the ban within a year.

Asked about Samoa's turkey tail ban, Mr Dini, the Torba Tourism Council chairman, said he would leave trade policy to Vanuatu's national government.

''They know the people in Vanuatu are their people,'' he said, ''and they should make decisions that are based on the value of the future generations of this nation.'.

Students Merium, Rabo, Dee, Haleema, Saima or Hussain to ensure that the headline link reaches the people of Vanuatu.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of Vanuatu and the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Shunning Obesity '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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