SUVA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Fiji marked its National Sports and Wellness Day (NSWD) on Friday, hoping that more Fijians would exercise and live healthy to reduce the growing number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
To observe the public holiday, groups around the island nation organized sports activities for their families. Mere Tinai, who is a civil servant, said that she brought her whole family to Albert Park in Suva, the capital of Fiji to use the exercise machines.
"It's a good day to spend with the family and to talk about the advantages of exercising and eating healthy," said the 36-year-old mother of three.
Fiji's Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou said on Friday that the Fijian government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports and partner agencies, encouraged all Fijians to participate in the National Sports and Wellness Day (NSWD) 2018.
"The government has gazetted the National Sports and Wellness Public Holiday so that all of us from all works of life, all ages, genders and abilities can participate in a non-competitive and fun sporting program to promote healthy living and lifestyle," he said.
This year's theme is "A healthy Fiji starts with you". This was selected to create awareness about citizens taking responsibility for their health to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases.
Globally, NCDs kill 40 million people annually, accounting for 70 percent of all deaths. Among these,17 million people die from NCDs before reaching the age of 70 years.
The majority of these deaths (87 percent) occur in low and middle income countries like Fiji.
Statistics from Fiji's Ministry of Health states that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths in Fiji, coupled with diabetes, cancer and other lifestyle diseases.
The organization of NSWD 2018 and other wellness programs proves the Fijian government's commitment to combat the spread of NCDs and promotion of active lifestyles.