News Release FSM Information Services Palikir, Pohnpei Feb. 14, 2011

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pacific island countries are developing measures to revitalize the vision of creating "healthy islands" that has been the unifying theme for better health in the Pacific for more than a decade.

WHO convened a steering group meeting in Nadi, Fiji recently to further efforts to develop these measures. The meeting included experts from the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The members of the steering group focused on combating the growing epidemic of lifestyle and non-communicable diseases.

"The Pacific is one of the most beautiful places on earth, said Dr Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization regional director for the Western Pacific. Yet the threat of lifestyle diseases is so great that the future for Pacific islanders and the health of their children are endangered. We must take action now."

Shin encouraged all government ministries and partner organizations to work together to provide a healthy environment and to encourage people to make the proper choices that will lead to better health.

"This steering group is an important step towards achieving our shared vision of healthy islands in the Pacific," Shin said.

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