National | Health

Govt initiatives continue to reduce childhood obesity

Last year the Government announced a package of initiatives to prevent and manage childhood obesity.

The package aimed to provide interventions for those who are obese, increase support for those at risk of becoming obese and various approaches to make healthier choices easier for all New Zealanders.

One year on since the launch of the Childhood Obesity Plan, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says good progress is being made.

Dr Coleman says, “Obesity is a serious issue threatening the health of young New Zealanders,which means some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents.”

In 2014/15 11% of all children aged 2-14 years were obese. The figures for Maori and Pacific children were 15% and 30% respectively.”

The Childhood Obesity Plan includes improved public information and resources; initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity and making healthy food choices, actions for the health sector, as well as the food and beverage industry.

Coleman adds, "At the core of the Plan is the new Raising Healthy Kids health target which was introduced on 1 July 2016. The aim is to have 95% of children identified as obese in the B4 School Check referred to an appropriate health professional for family-based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions."

The Plan also signalled our intention to work with industry in addressing this issue.

Today food and beverage industry groups committed to developing solutions to reduce childhood obesity through an industry wide pledge. Some have also made specific pledges to make reformulation, advertising and labelling changes.

Although there is no single solution that will fix obesity, good progress is being made. There is always more that can be done and this issue remains a priority for the Government.”