Vanuatu women hit poor health for six
Pacific women are being encouraged to take up cricket to improve their health, with the completion of a 15 week pilot program in Vanuatu seeing outstanding results.
As part of the program 30 young women were taught the Pacific version of the popular sport, culminating in a showcase event before the final of the East Asia-Pacific Women’s Championship.
The Vanuatu ‘Island Cricket Pilot’ was aimed at teaching women on Ifira about communicable diseases, the value of nutrition, maternal health and leadership.
Vanuatu, like many Pacific Island countries, has high rates of obesity which increases the likelihood of developing a number of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
International Cricket Council’s East Asia Pacific Regional Project Officer, Adam Cassidy, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program the trial worked wonders.
“A lot of women lost weight and lowered their blood pressure over the 15 week period,” Mr Cassidy said.
“Feedback from families, in their houses, their husbands and their kids, their food and their diet habits had changed – they’re seeing food in their houses that they have never heard of before.
“And their cricket skills were outstanding.”
Funding for the program comes from AusAid as part of the Pacific Sports Partnership agreement.
Mr Cassidy says he hopes the success of the program will see it expand to other villages and possibly even into a league competition.