In response to the global epidemic of chronic, non communicable diseases, the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2002 requested WHO to develop the Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health (DPAS) to strengthen existing national, regional and international efforts to prevent and control chronic diseases and their common risk factors. DPAS was formally adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2004 (Resolution 57.17) (1)
The major role of the office is the implementation of DPAS in the Pacific where obesity has been identified as a growing problem of epidemic proportion. Three main strategies were identified at the Samoa meeting in 2000.
a. The Creation of Supportive Environments: Environmental determinants of obesity to be addressed through healthy public policies that promote the availability and accessibility of a variety of low fat, high fibre foods and that provides safe places and opportunities for physical activity.
b. The Promotion of Positive Behaviours: Behavioural determinants of obesity to be addressed through the promotion of personal awareness, attitudes, beliefs, and skills that motivate and enable people to modify recently introduced unhealthy eating patterns and to increase physical activity which has declined with modernisation.
c. The Mounting of a Clinical Response: The existing burden of obesity and associated conditions need control through clinical programs and staff training to ensure effective support for the maintenance or loss of weight among those already affected.
This has been further developed in a recent DPAS workshop in Suva where certain specific regional and country level strategies were identified and strengthened.