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Getting physical in Nelson

Nelson-Marlborough¹s ground breaking Nutritional and Physical Activity
Programme is making significant progress on helping targeted groups to be
more active and to eat healthier food.

Programme Director Helen Steenbergen says the five year District Health
Board initiative is the only one of its kind in the South Island and is
matched by only Counties Manukau nationwide.

³It is no easy task to turn around the obesity epidemic, Ms Steenbergen
said. ³We really are breaking new ground on this and we are very pleased
with the results so far. In the 18 months since the programme was set up, we
have secured the support of councils across the Top of the South, government
agencies, schools and community groups.

The NPA Programme has delivered over $200,000 to schools, early childhood
centres and most recently to community groups. Larger grants of $5,000 set
up like mini-contracts have targeted groups such as Maori communities and
vulnerable people and families where the NPA strategic plan has identified
it can make the most change. Ms Steenbergen said there are some significant
projects ready to go this year that will really make a different to

³The Picton Youth Centre is running a programme of pro-social activities
including basketball, touch hip-hop classes; we have an ethnic soccer
festival coming up in Marlborough to get locals and migrants active and
mingling in a fun atmosphere and there are several schools and early
childhood centres that have already made a start on vegetable gardens and

³We¹re working with schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres to
find ways they bring these ideas into the curriculum, she said. A garden
doesn¹t just teach kids about planting and watering seeds - when they are
involved in the whole process they are much more likely to try and even like
vegetables they haven¹t eaten before.

This year workshops are planned to let schools and community groups know
more about the NPA and the type of projects it is able to fund. More
information on the NPA and it¹s Operational Plan for 2008 can be found at


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