Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, are the leading cause of premature deaths in the Pacific.
Stepping up efforts to address these challenges – and the burden they place on families and societies – is a moral and economic imperative, he said.
“Risk factors such as tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are putting a great deal of pressure on health systems across the Pacific,” said Dr Kasai.
 
“We must do better,” he explained. Combating NCDs requires strong primary health care systems that “look at the whole person, the foods they eat and the lifestyle they lead”.
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