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Launch of the WAKE UP! project to engage Pacific youth in prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

Each year, the Pacific Community (SPC) delivers a campaign inviting young people from across the Pacific to be engaged and involved in promoting awareness regarding non-communicable diseases (NCD).  This year, SPC is inviting youth to create NCD themed comic strips, as a way to reach out to their communities. Wake up! encourages young people to create NCD prevention messages using a variety of media platforms appropriate for audiences under the age of 30. NCDs include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer, and are a major health, social and economic development challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories. These diseases, which are highly prevalent in the region, drain government resources and have a negative impact on quality of life. Typically observed in adults, NCDs are now being increasingly diagnosed in young people. Tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, poor diets (such as diets rich in sugar, salt, fats, processed foods, and low in fruit and vegetables) combined with lack of physical exercise, are the leading risk factors for NCD. Currently, young people have little opportunity to express themselves on these issues.