The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
RJ, SN and SN carried out data collection, data entry, drafting of manuscript; SM, RT and CL carried survey design, development of database for data entry, statistical analysis of data and drafting of manuscript; MR carried out statistical analysis, tabulation of results and drafting of manuscript; IT provided access to unit record files of WHO STEPS unit record data used in comparison analysis, advice and comment on survey design and implementation, and drafting of manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The population of Fiji has experienced emergence of non-communicable disease (NCD) and a plateau in life expectancy over the past 20 years.
A mini-STEPS survey (n = 2765) was conducted in Viseisei in Western Fiji to assess NCD risk factors (RFs) in i-Taukei (Melanesians) and those of Indian descent aged 25–64 years (response 73 %). Hypertension (HT) was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥90 mmHg or on medication for HT; type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) as fasting plasma glucose ≥7.0 mmol/L or on medication for T2DM; and obesity as a body mass index (kilograms/height(metres)2) ≥30. Data were age-adjusted to 2007 Fiji Census. Associations between RFs and ethnicity/education were investigated. Comparisons with Fiji STEPS surveys were undertaken, and the absolute risk of a cardiovascular disease (CVD) event/death in 10 years was estimated from multiple RF charts.
NCD/RFs increased with age except excessive alcohol intake and daily smoking (women) which declined. Daily smoking was higher in men 33 % (95 % confidence interval: 31–36) than women 14 % (12–116); women were more obese 40 % (37–43) than men 23 % (20–26); HT was similar in men 37 % (34–40) and women 34 % (31–36), as was T2DM in men 15 % (13–17) and women 17 % (15–19). i-Taukei men had an odds ratio (OR) of 0.41 (0.28–0.58) for T2DM compared to Indians (1.00); and i-Taukei (both sexes) had a higher OR for obesity and low fruit/vegetable intake, daily smoking, excessive alcohol intake and HT in females. Increasing education correlated with lesser smoking, but with higher obesity and lower fruit/vegetable intake. Compared to the 2011 Fiji STEPS survey, no significant differences were evident in obesity, HT or T2DM prevalences. The proportion (40–64 years) classified at high or very high risk (≥20 %) of a CVD event/death (over 10 years) based on multiple RFs was 8.3 % for men (8.1 % i-Taukei, 8.5 % Indian), and 6.7 % for women (7.9 % i-Taukei, 6.0 % Indian).
The results of the survey highlight the need for individual and community interventions to address the high levels of NCD/RFs. Evaluation of interventions is needed in order to inform NCD control policies in Fiji and other Pacific Island nations.