By LAURA MACINTOSH
This first official session of the Women’s Island Cricket Project got underway in Wailevu today, in the second running of the project by Cricket Fiji, the first on the island of Vanua Levu.
Following the successful pilot model of the program staged in Dravo on Viti Levu, the aim of the program is to create awareness about the factors that contribute to non-communicable diseases in the high-risk category of middle-aged women.
Today the women underwent their first full medical screening, testing their Body Mass Index (BMI), blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and waist circumference, with their cholesterol also to be measured in the coming weeks. The women were then educated about what their measurements meant, and how it was important to try and keep them between certain levels to improve their quality of life, and also help them from developing any non-communicable diseases.
With 80% of deaths in Fiji attributable to NCDs, throughout the 20 weeks the women will be involved in practical cricket sessions to help combat the factor of physical inactivity, as well as advocacy sessions on the other three factors that contribute to NCDs – nutrition, tobacco and alcohol use.
After today’s session a total of 43 participants are registered for the program, with an average age of 45 years, the majority of who are from Wailevu, but also from surrounding villages including Bucalevu, Tabia, Vatudova, Vatulovona and Qelewaqa
After the inaugural project in Dravo in 2013, Cricket Fiji saw extremely positive results, including 45.5% of participants losing weight by an average of 3.2 kilograms, 43.2% participants decreasing their waist circumference by an average of 11.8 centimetres, and 34.1% of participants lowering their BMI by an average of 1.4 BMI points.
The project will continue in Wailevu next Tuesday.
The Women’s Island Cricket Project is made possible through the Pacific Sports Partnership Program, an Australian Sports Commission initiative.