New mag shines light on Pacific’s health issues

Alarming stats for islanders

It has been known for some time now that people of Pacific Islands origin living in New Zealand find themselves overrepresented in health-related statistics—particularly around lifestyle ailments. Three in every five Pacific Islanders is obese, three times more islanders have diabetes and markedly more Pacific people have oral and mental health issues than other groups. This is a major worry for New Zealand’s health authorities and while the concerned government ministries have continued information dissemination and awareness generation programmes across different media, there has not been a regular, periodic media vehicle to address Pacific health concerns aimed at the general Pacific Islands audience in the country.

A new quarterly magazine titled ‘Pacific Peoples Health’ launched in January 2014 plans to change that. Oceania Media, which has published the popular and successful six issues a year Spasifik magazine for a decade now, is the team behind this new, more specialised offering. Publisher and editor Innes Logan says there has been a growing demand for covering more health stories over the past few years. “I think there has been a general acceptance with the way we cover health stories—we don’t shirk from the stats but provide stories which our people engage in.

For Pacific people, the lack of engagement and access to the health system has been one of the barriers,” Logan told Islands Business. Planned as a quarterly, the magazine also has an online edition. Asked about the wisdom behind a conventional, paper-based magazine in the age of the tablet and smartphones, Logan said, “I believe print still has its value. People spend more time reading print rather than online where it’s easier to get sidetracked. It’s amazing how many people who have seen it online have requested a hard copy.”

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