Spreading the message and raising awareness on the negative impacts of non-communicable diseases is the reason for a walk, run, or cycle around the island initiative of the Tuapa Group Fitness which took place last Friday.
More than 30 participants mainly women and girls started walking from the Tuapa village hall at 4.30am heading north.
Some were on e-bikes while most walk and jogged when they can. The Tuapa Fitness Group started some twenty years ago initially only for the Tuapa folks, but in the last ten years, the group has included other members from other villages. Also taking part was New Zealand High Commissioner Helen Tunnah.
The group’s role model is Mrs. Gina Tukiuha (pictured left) who is north of sixty is a staunch member of the group. She took the lead on the walk taking the message around the island by encouraging people to walk and exercise to stay healthy.
Many supporters in other villages set up drink-stops and some joined the group in their villages walking in solidarity with the Tuapa Group Fitness.
The first of the group to complete the tour arrived back in Tuapa at just after eleven that morning.
According to the Tuapa Fitness group, an estimated 53% of the island population have some form of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Obesity is also a major concern in Niue. The Britannica ProCon.org website rank the top ten highest percentage of the national population as obese are all Pacific nations with Niue ranked sixth in the most obese adult population at 50 per cent.
The island with the highest percentage of obesity in the adult population is Nauru at 61% and the Cook Islands ranked 2nd at 59.9% followed by Palau with 55.3 %.
The 2016 data of the World Health Organisation (WHO) records that more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide were overweight, including 650 million who were obese, in 2016. The prevalence of obesity tripled worldwide between 1975 and 2016.
The Tuapa Fitness group say that going around the island is a demonstration of their commitment to their long-term goals of healthy living and reaffirm their vision of a better, healthier, and prosperous life on Niue.