Category Archives: The Cook Islands

Healthy Eating…No More Diets…Obesity … The Cook Islands and Timor Leste.

No more (6) Timor and The Cook Islands

Welcome back to Carol’s Bootcamp…I can’t think why I called it that as this is not about being on a diet but Healthy Eating  I know some people like structure but at some point you will either get fed up with the restrictions of the said diet  pile the pounds back on or spend the rest of your life eating foods which you don’t really enjoy but they are supposed to be good for you… Well, to hell with all that!

Life is for living…Food is for enjoying…

I have decided to do is some comparisons …It started with a headline about obesity. Country by country and percentages and then I got to thinking about the difference in lifestyles and options or just what we have always eaten..But then those stats began to make sense to me…

Today is my final post on this and I am comparing The Cook Islands who stand at number 1( and that) my friends does not deserve any accolades as at 50.80% and rising rapidly and Timor Leste who are bottom at 192 on the chart. with only 2.2%…that is a tragedy….sad beyond belief…

The very beautiful Cook Islands are home to the Maori whose agricultural lands have been replaced by luxury resorts and tourism over the last 30 years has boomed…From a diet of fresh fish, tomatoes, pawpaw and taro this once healthy nation now prefer fast food and chips…

The effect of tourism and loss of agricultural lands means that the islands are 82% food import-dependent…fresh food has been replaced by calorie rich, nutrient poor processed foods and sugary drinks…

The most recent figures are horrifying with 80/90% of men classed as obese, school children..24% of girls are obese and for the boys, that figure is even higher at 24& it is no wonder that many are diabetic…High Cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are the leading cause of death here.

The ministry of health is working with world health organisations and work is being done to encourage islanders to be self-sufficient and grow their own food… will it be too little too late?? I do hope we can get back some of the attributes of a once proud traditional race who are healthy and chronic disease free.

tradition-1421100_1280

These once proud, healthy Maori have now succumbed to the unhealthy diets of the western world and at a devastating cost to their health and well-being.

The other side of the coin is Timor Leste who on the face of it should be commended for their low obesity rate, however, there is a lot of poverty here, the diet is rice based with maybe one green vegetable so nutrient-poor hence malnutrition and anaemia is a leading cause of premature deaths.

The incidence of stunting is also very high here but there is work going on to educate young mothers with children on the impact of good nutrition and how eating a more varied diet can vastly improve the health of their children so hope is on the horizon.

This island sits at the southern end of south-east Asia and boasts a dry, tropical climate. With an abundance of coconut palms and eucalyptus trees agriculture is the main occupation. Corn ( maize), rice, cassava, sweet potatoes, dried beans, coconuts and coffee…with crafts and textiles also being important to the economy. How beautiful are those traditionally built houses?

Timor traditional wooden-228267_1280

This is the last of my comparisons and this last one didn’t supply  healthy community’s who had their diets spot on and health was at its optimum instead it showed how the advance of tourism has devastated a race and how the effects of  Indonesian occupation; guerrilla warfare by the Timorese against the occupiers has stunted the growth of a young nation…

I sincerely hope that they do not succumb to western influences with regard to their diets and health but hope they build on their agricultural and craft/textile traditions and become a healthy nation of people who deserve their status on the obesity chart proving that cooking from scratch and avoiding highly processed sugary foods and drinks means many acute diseases are totally avoidable…

We are what we eat!

Next week I will be back with recipes and tips to help you with your healthy eating and to show that it doesn’t mean hours in the kitchen especially when you have a family and work… I have 6 children, have always worked and always cooked from scratch…That is without the pets…Horses, dogs, cats, snakes you name it my kids have bought it home.

As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the western world I will leave you with some additional reading from the very knowledgeable Sally…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/smorgasbord-health-column-our-heart-is-only-as-good-as-the-food-we-eat/

If you have found this a thought-provoking read on the effects of  following a western diet please share xxx

If you really want to see even more from me???? There are many strings to my bow…If you still want to find out more…

I am a crazy English lady with a quirky sense of humour…  I look forward to meeting you x

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Have a lovely week xx