THE BASKETBALL Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) will join with the International Basketball Federation (IBF) Foundation and the group’s Oceania Regional Office in a bid to address youth obesity in PNG.

Under the partnership, which is due to extend through to 2018, the IBF will seek to engage young people in regular basketball activities and educate them on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

The agreement with IBF and its Oceania office will enable BFPNG to activate a number of programs and community engagement initiatives, such as their Australian government funded Hoops for Health (H4H) program.

H4H is designed to contribute to non-communicable disease awareness, promoting the importance of school attendance and the value of education, and reducing anti-social behaviour and encouraging social cohesion.

The first stage of the initiative will be for IBF to help BFPNG improve their governance, operational effectiveness and sustainability – boosting BFPNG’s capacity to plan, run and monitor participation based programs, progress participation and leadership of women in sport.

IBF president Yvan Mainini said PNG was a small country with huge potential.

“Our partnership with the FIBA office in Oceania and BFPNG will not only aim at supporting this important health and community engagement program,” he said.

“At the same time it will support the development of the basketball structure in the country and we look forward to this common challenge.”

Over half the population of PNG are between the ages of 0-24 years (54%) and once they hit adulthood, one in four of them are considered obese, the IBF said.