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Moves under way to introduce healthier foods to Samoan markets

Examples of healthy eating options in the FAO program
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's main markets in Apia will soon have vendors selling nutritious food as part of an initiative to introduce healthy eating.

The Savalalo market has been selected for the first phase of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project because of the popularity of stalls selling fast food and sugary drinks there.

A number of vendors have attended workshops highlighting healthier options and recipes.

Galumalemana Steve Percival, from the Tiapapata Art Centre, is helping with the project.

He said non-communicable diseases were on the rise across the Pacific because of unhealthy diets.

"Non-communicable disease is actually a misnomer because these diseases are very easily transmitted from one person to another simply through the social interaction that people have," Galumalemana said.

"Children learn from their own family home what to eat, how to eat, when to eat...and if the food they are getting is bad they grow up eating bad food, they grow up serving bad food."

Galumalemana said he hoped the lessons from the project would be passed on to future generations. He also hoped the it would spark the government into action against unhealthy food and drinks.

"They've been talking for many, many years about sugary drinks. Why not just ban sugary drinks? Or at least heavily tax it so it becomes unaffordable.

"People don't need sugary drinks, they can drink water or coconuts."

Galumalemana hoped the government would work to restrict the importation of high-fat, low nutrition meat cuts like turkey tails.