Sunday, 28 June 2015


In writing this report,  I am focusing on Papua New Guinea and several countries in the Pacific area where the people suffer death due to lifestyle habits. These include diet, lack of exercise and too much beer.

Before starting on these matters, it is important to understand aspects of the physiology of the body. Our body consists of a digestive system that starts in the mouth and ends in the rectum.

Food passes into the mouth where digestion starts with the enzyme amylase that begins the break-down of starch. Further break-down occurs with amylase in the stomach. Food is further broken down in the duodenum with bile from the liver.

The absorption of nutrients takes place in the small intestine with water and salts. It occurs through the hundreds of small fingers called the villi found on the gut wall. Food is absorbed and passes into the hepatic portal vein that takes the nutrients to the liver.

In the wall of the small intestine are the capillaries of the lymph system called the lymphatics which link to the lymph vessel that goes up to join the large veins of the heart known as the vena cava.

Nutrients pass though the hepatic portal vein to the liver. Fats pass through the lymphatics to enter the heart and go down to the liver. So the accumulation of fats is on the lymph vessels, vena cava and heart. Blockage of the heart by fats causes heart attack and possible death.

We have only to examine the sheep hearts we buy in the supermarket to see accumulations of fat on the upper area of the heart. And sheep only eat grass !!

The function of the liver is to break down chemicals. So we can make our liver work far too hard by eating and drinking large numbers of chemicals from processed food on a long term basis. The liver can eventually give up, increased by liver damage called cirrhosis. Diabetes 2 brings damage to the kidneys.

Now we come to the diet of death in the Pacific and elsewhere. Let us start with fats from fatty meat and coconut milk.

The Australian and New Zealand sheep farmers send all their old fatty rubbish meat to the meat works that is sent in cartons to the Pacific nations. Some mutton is just a slab of fat with a streak or two of muscle. To make matters worse it is cooked in fatty coconut milk.

The life span of many Pacific people is 48 years old. Men in particular die of heart attacks after a lifetime of fatty meat with fat that passes up the lymph vessels to the vena cava and into the heart.

Men and more and more women make matters worse by binge drinking of beer. These days in PNG, young men come in a vehicle to a settlement area in a car with a loudspeaker. That way they avoid the police.

They play loud music until dawn, drinking the cartons of beer from the boot of the car, playing loud boom-boom-boom music and dancing with a stubby in their hand. A person who drinks large quantities of beer over many years will suffer several problems.

They will have a large beer gut and waddle like a duck at 35 years old. Their liver will be grossly overworked. That is all the overworking many men do. Diet of food will be replaced by alcoholic drink. Men do no exercise, absorb too much sugar in alcohol, smoke and risk the onset of diabetes 2.

Healthy diet problems in Papua New Guinea are the result of many factors. There is not enough land for gardens. Many women do not make gardens but prefer to buy processed food in the trade store. Many families live on noodles. 

Many have no idea of diet having left school early. The standard diet of many PNG families is biscuits, white buns, twisties and Coca Cola. These are all carbohydrates. Small children arrive at the store in the afternoon with two kina for the evening meal. Mother is playing cards.

Some men earn money from jobs but do not give money to their wives who are expected to find the evening meal somewhere. If she has a stall, he may demand that money too. The cheapest meal comes with a bag of flour made into pan cakes cooked in oil. This is processed food.

There is a very lazy way of marketing in this country that involves little work. A product is bought to be broken up and sold one item at a time.

A packet of cigarette or lollies or a carton of soft drinks can be sold at a small profit. But they join the line of several women doing the same. Marketers with initiative try to sell car to car at traffic lights.

Very few women would go to the market for a greens, carrots, beans, cabbage and potatoes as the family diet of vegetables. There will be no fruit.

Even an apple or orange could be cut up for the children. She may not have the K5. Diet requires a little education. Most women do not have education. Many families live on a diet of carbohydrate and no protein.

In modern PNG, we find that the old people may live until 75 years old. Their sons die at 48 years of age. An old man lived on the Kokoda track and stayed healthy to 104 years old. He followed a Seventh Day Adventist lifestyle.

Village people had a way of life that came from living in the mountains, walking bush tracks to town, carrying heavy loads, digging gardens, eating mainly vegetables and drinking mainly water from the creek. They did not eat too much food. Garden food gave all the protein they needed. Protein is not just from meat.

Their children came to town and learned to eat rubbish food cooked in oil, eat their evening meal in the Chinese rubbish food shops, have a permanent diet of tinned fish and white rice, drink alcohol, drive everywhere or catch buses and do no exercise.

So the Pacific diet of death is well established in PNG and other countries in the Pacific. Positive Living belongs to those with the education and good sense to know that they live and die by the lifestyle they follow.

Children may die from diet and from inhaling the cigarette smoke of their mother. A small child being breast fed by a foolish mother with a cigarette in her mouth may well suffer hardening of the arteries or lung problems in later age.

Bruce Copeland BA BEdSt
Teacher of Biology and Personal Development

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