As part of efforts to promote a healthier and productive civil service, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka launched the first-ever National Policy on Healthy Catering and Sale of Food and Beverages for Government at the Suva Civic Centre this morning.
The policy has been designed to ensure that meals, snacks, and beverages provided at all government facilities encourage healthier choices in a bid to address the rising concern of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Fiji.
During the launch, PM Rabuka stressed the importance of making healthier choices for personal well-being and also to help in the fight against NCDs, which contribute to over 84% of annual deaths.
“Today, let us all make the commitment to be healthy for ourselves, our families, our community, our vanua, and our nation. We can do this by making healthy choices in terms of our food, and in reducing the usage of cigarettes and alcohol, which are aggravating risk factors for NCDs,” he said.
“This policy is an important milestone in our response to the national emergency on NCDs and to build a healthier civil service, society and nation.”
Expressing concerns about the impact of NCDs on the younger population, the Prime Minister emphasised the need for collective action to prevent the loss of promising careers due to health issues.
“We must evaluate our sedentary lifestyles and make the commitment to exercise and be healthier for ourselves, our loved ones and those we serve.”
PM Rabuka, at the same time, commended the collaborative efforts of the Health Ministry, the Civil Service Ministry, and the National Food and Nutrition Committee in promoting optimal nutrition and healthy eating habits.
By promoting healthier food options, the government aims to create a positive impact on local agriculture, with increased demand for fruits, vegetables, and root crops.
The Head of the Peoples’ Coalition Government concluded by acknowledging the initiative of “Wellness Wednesday” for civil servants, further urging the Health Ministry and Public Service Commission to continue to promote healthier habits in the service.
“Government agencies will implement the policy and I look forward to seeing improvement in future health screening exercises and maybe, a reduction in the catering budget. I am hopeful that once we, in government commit to this workplace policy, we will then provide healthier options for our children and families.”
The event also featured insights from the Health Minister’s findings on health trends resulting from the screening of 3,456 individuals within the Civil Service and selected private institutions.
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