Healthy Living Advice

Information to help you make healthier choices

Food and nutrition

Eating well, including fresh and whole foods to your diet, being active and getting enough sleep are key ingredients for a healthy life and reversing the obesity trend in the Cook Islands.

Physical activity

Exercise or physical activity can improve your health and reduce your risk of disease. By staying active and increasing movement every day, your quality of life will improve and it strengthens your bones and muscles.


People of all ages, from birth through to adulthood, are administered vaccines according to the national immunisation schedule. Immunisation is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions to prevent disease.

Teeth and gums

Maintain a good diet, brush your teeth and gums, and floss regularly to prevent cavities and tooth decay. See a dental practitioner for regular oral health care and cleaning your teeth.

Regular checks and screening

Regular health checks and routine health screening is the best way to find and treat diseases early. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (such as diet, smoking status, physical activity levels) influence the type of health services you may need and how often you need health care. Avoid delaying medical attention if you need it, contact us.

Quit smoking

Smoking is bad for your health. It causes a range of problems including cancer, lung disease, stroke, vision problems and high blood pressure. Second-hand exposure to smoking is just as bad and people who are exposed to it can get many of the same problems as smokers do. Call our smokefree health line if you need support to quit.

Mental wellbeing

Mental health is complex. Good mental health is associated with positive relationships and social behaviour, while mental health conditions can cause distress and impact on daily living. It is important to seek help when you can, look after your neighbour and be kind to yourself and others. Call our help line on 0800 1814 or +682 25664 if you need someone to talk to.

Tips for healthy living


Eat real, healthy, fresh and whole foods

Avoid foods that are altered by humans such as processed foods or packet foods. If the packet says ‘lite’, ‘low fat’ or ‘fat-free’, avoid buying it as it will likely be high in sugar. Use natural foods as it grows on the land or in the sea.

Click here to learn how to cook Healthy meals


Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables

Up to 80% of our diet should be plant-based. Wherever possible, eat vegetables that grow above ground and are edible when raw. These are mostly greens. Try to avoid vegetables that grow below ground such as potatoes.


Drink lots of water

Water is important for your body. It helps keep you hydrated, protects the skin, helps with weight loss, maintains body fluids and regulates body systems to keep you going.


Stay active and keep moving

Low levels of physical activity and movement can have harmful effects on your health, wellbeing, quality of sleep, and quality of life. It is important to keep moving to reduce stress, prevent muscle and joint pain, and stay in good health.


Get lots of sleep

Lacking sleep or sleep deficiency can contribute to weight gain, poor eating habits, and lower concentration and productivity. These can also put you at high risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

Tips to stay active & keep moving


It's not always about the gym

You do not necessarily need to go to the gym everyday to be active and fit. By sitting less and moving more, there is a lot you can do to stay fit for example, dancing or even planting. The goal is to keep moving.


Walk more

Walking is one of the easiest and most convenient activities you can do. Brisk walking (or walking faster) is considered a good way to burn calories. Try and go for a walk in the morning. If you need motivation, invite someone to walk with you.


Stand up at work or hold standing meetings

Working in the office can mean sitting for hours at a desk. Standing helps break that habit and helps burn calories while increasing leg strength and endurance.


Clean your home and yard

There are many benefits to cleaning, and using this time as an opportunity to stay active is important. Vigorous cleaning in and around the home is good for your health, whether by sweeping and mopping your home, gardening or working in the taro patch.