An assessment of non-communicable diseases, diabetes, and related risk factors in the Republic of Palau: a systems perspective

Henry M Ichiho, Yorah Demei, Stevenson Kuartei, Nia Aitaoto
Hawai'i Journal of Medicine & Public Health: a Journal of Asia Pacific Medicine & Public Health 2013, 72 (5): 98-105
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been identified as a health emergency in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).1 This assessment, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted in the Republic of Palau and describes the burden due to selected NCD (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, chronic kidney disease); and assesses the system of service capacity and current activities for service delivery, data collection, and reporting as well as identifying the issues that need to be addressed. There has been a 7.1% increase in the population between 2000 and 2010. Significant shifts in the age groups show declines among children and young adults under 34 years of age and increases among adult residents over 45 years of age. Findings reveal that the risk factors of poor diet, lack of physical activity, and lifestyle behaviors are associated with overweight and obesity and subsequent NCD that play a significant role in the morbidity and mortality of the population. The leading causes of death include heart disease and cancer. A 2003 community household survey was conducted and 22.4% of them reported a history of diabetes in the household. A survey among Ministry of Health employees showed that 44% of the men and 47% of the women were overweight and 46% of the men and 42% of the women were obese. Other findings show significant gaps in the system of administrative, clinical, and support services to address these NCD. Priority issues and needs for the administrative and clinical systems were identified.

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