Lockdown for Pacific an opportunity to reset diets says academic

The lockdown to contain Covid-19 is a golden opportunity for Pacific nations to reset their diets, according to an Auckland University academic.

Dean of Pasifika at the Auckland Medical School, Colin Tukuitonga, who previously headed the Pacific Community, said people can use the isolation to achieve some personal good.

He said given the rampant levels of non-communicable disease in the Pacific, if people were to turn back to their more traditional foods, instead of relying on processed, sweetened, unhealthy imports, the impact could be huge.

Dr Tukuitonga said with borders closed now's a good to reset and look at developing and growing more healthy foods locally.

"Countries like Tonga import half the food consumed there, yet it has the land and soil to grow nearly everything it needs."

He said this is the situation in many other countries, except perhaps Nauru, which has issues with available land and a dearth of soil.