Bay News column

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last week Health Minister Jonathan Coleman announced 22 initiatives to help tackle the problem of childhood obesity. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of obesity in the developed world, and the rate is increasing.

The Childhood Obesity Plan will involve targeted interventions for one of the leading preventable health risks in New Zealand, increasing support for those at risk of becoming obese and make it easier for families to make healthier choices.

We have also set a new childhood obesity target that will see 95 per cent of children identified as obese in the B4 School Check, referred to a health professional for further assessment. The B4 School Check is a free health and development check for four-year-olds.

This makes New Zealand one of the first countries in the OECD to have a national health target and a plan for childhood obesity.

Other initiatives in the plan include access to nutrition and physical activities programmes for families, guidance for healthy weight gain in pregnancy, and referrals for woman at risk of gestational diabetes. It will also improve public information and resources around healthy lifestyle choices and increasing physical activity.

There is no single solution to this complex and widespread issue. That is why we have developed a range of interventions across Government, the private sector, communities, schools and families.

Childhood obesity is a serious issue which means some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents. National is committed to improving outcomes for those young New Zealanders at risk so they live longer, healthier lives.