Address at the Closing of the ‘Oso mai Ra’ Aerobics and Wellness Competition, Sports Commission Wellness Program in Ra,
17 October 2018 at 2:00 P.M

Invited guests,
Sports Enthusiast,
Government officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni Bula Vinaka and a very Good Afternoon to you all.

It is indeed a pleasure to be here this afternoon to officiate in the closing of this “Oso Mai Ra" Aerobics and Wellness programme. I would also like to thank the organisers for extending an invitation to be a part of it.

Ladies and gentlemen, sometime ago I was invited to close a similar programme in Rewasa Village and had an opportunity to discuss with organisers the possibility of running a 12 week programme for the province.

I am delighted and encouraged to note that the programme was adopted and today we officially gather for the closing of this important programme but this does not mean that your personal wellness programme ends here as well.

Please do continue and inform others of its benefits and support them. Social support is a very important part of weight loss and getting fit.

By interacting with fellow villagers or friends, you’ll have others to give you encouragement when you need it, as well as to hold you accountable to your goals. Plus, you’ll be motivated by seeing each other’s positive results.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Wellness programmes such as the “Oso Mai Ra" Aerobics and Wellness programme demonstrates to us that our health is important. It benefits you as an individual and your families at home and in the workplace.

Good nutrition complements wellness and is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.

Wellness programmes are an important tool in our combat against non-communicable diseases or NCD’s.

NCDs, as we commonly call them, are a diverse group of chronic diseases that are not communicable, meaning you cannot catch them from another person.

They are defined as diseases of long duration, generally they progress slowly and they are the major cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide.

NCDs are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide.

A majority of all NCD related deaths, which is 82% of the 16 million people who died prematurely world-wide before reaching the age of 70, occur in low- and middle-income countries. This includes Fiji.

NCDs are also known as “lifestyle diseases” – simply put, we can control these diseases if we control our lifestyles better. This requires discipline in both the areas of addressing our nutrition and food intake and our daily exercise programme.

Health, on the other hand, is a dynamic process because it is always changing. We all have times of good health, times of sickness, and maybe even times of serious illness. As our lifestyles change, so does our level of health.

Those of us who participate in regular physical activity do so partly to improve the current and future level of our health. We strive toward an optimal state of well-being. As our lifestyle improves, our health also improves and we experience less disease and sickness.

We heard recently from a lady in Vatukacevaceva Village on how this programme has improved her mobility and personal wellbeing and I am sure that the same can be heard from participants in the ‘Oso mai Ra’ Aerobics and Wellness Programme who have shown tremendous improvement in their physical health.

Physical health Ladies and Gentlemen is only one aspect of our overall health.

Wellness is the search for enhanced quality of life, personal growth, and potential through positive lifestyle behaviours and attitudes. If we take responsibility for our own health and well-being, we can improve our health on a daily basis.

Each day we work toward maximizing our level of health and wellness to live long, full, and healthy lives. The pursuit of health, personal growth, and improved quality of life relies on living a balanced life. To achieve balance, we need to care for our mind, body, and spirit.

If any of these three areas is consistently lacking or forgotten about, we will not be at our optimal level of health. We are constantly challenged with balancing each of these three areas throughout life.

As such, Ladies and Gentlemen, Government is working to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst all citizens of Fiji. This is by encouraging people to live active lifestyles, play regular sports and adopt healthy lifestyles.

We have developed a ‘National Wellness Policy’ to ensure that groups other than our Ministry of Health can advocate and protect Fijian health and wellness – groups such as the Fiji Sports Commission.

The Policy promotes certain settings as being more effective and efficient in combating issues holistically, at the population level. Strong leadership, commitment, support from all sectors and a strong monitoring and evaluation framework is core to ensuring this Policy is given credibility and adequate resources.

The ‘Oso mai Ra’ Aerobics and Wellness Programme supports this policy and I would like to thank the organizers who have been involved behind the scenes in making this event possible.

I congratulate you all on what you have achieved so far and encourage to carry on with your individual programmes.

Strive for excellence in your health. Eat home grown and healthy food and most important of all promote wellness as a standard practise of your everyday life and let it not end here today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now declare the ‘Oso mai Ra’ Aerobics and Wellness Programme officially closed.

Sa Vinaka Vakalevu.