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New Zealand plan to reduce childhood obesity
New Zealand Health Minister and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has this week announced a comprehensive plan to reduce childhood obesity.
The plan includes 22 initiatives that combine new and existing services which are grouped into three key themes:
• Targeted interventions for those who are obese
• Increased support for those at risk of becoming obese
• Broad strategies to make healthier choices easier
Introducing the plan, Dr Coleman stated “being overweight or obese is expected to overtake tobacco as the leading preventable risk to health in New Zealand within the next 12 months.
“There is no single solution that will fix obesity. That’s why we have developed a range of interventions across Government, the private sector, communities, schools and families.
“The Childhood Obesity Plan includes improved public information and resources; increasing physical activity, some of which will be done in education settings; actions for the health sector, and the food and beverage industry.
“Our plan focuses on children as that’s where the evidence shows we can have the greatest influence. By focusing on children we expect to also influence the whole family.”
“At the core of the plan is a new childhood obesity health target. This target will be part of the health targets programme from 1st July 2016,” says Dr Coleman.
“By December 2017, 95% of children identified as obese in the B4 School Check will be referred to an appropriate health professional for clinical assessment and family based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.
“The B4 School Check is a free health and development check for four year olds. The checks aim to identify and address any health, behavioural, social or development concerns which could affect a child’s ability to get the most benefit from school.
“Over 58,600 children have benefited from this free service in the last year. Of that, over 1,400 were referred on for obesity related support. With this target we expect that will treble to over 4,000 a year by December 2017.
“To support this new target a range of new and improved practical advice will be available for families and to assist health professionals.
“It’s also important that we encourage people to get active. A number of actions will be led by Sport NZ. The Ministry of Education is another key partner in the plan.
“Community programmes such as Healthy Families NZ will continue to roll out around the country while other programmes will be enhanced so they are better targeted to provide nutrition and activity support and advice to those who need it most.
“We are working with the food industry on the role they can play. Options discussed so far include appropriate marketing and advertising to children and food labelling.
“Childhood obesity is a serious issue which means some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents.”
The package of initiatives will be funded from within existing health, sport and education budgets.
For further information about the Childhood Obesity Plan go to the Ministry of Health website at www.health.govt.nz
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
24th June 2015 - TACKLING OBESITY THROUGH NEW ZEALAND’S RUGBY CLUBS
14th March 2015 - IOC JOINS FORCES WITH UNESCO TO IMPROVE PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
8th October 2014 - NEW ZEALAND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND SPORT TO FOCUS ON OBESITY PREVENTION
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