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Obesity Results Encouraging

Obesity Results Encouraging

The indication that the rate of increase in obesity is slowing in New Zealand was welcomed by the Executive Director of the Food Industry Group, Vicki Hamilton.

She said that the results of the just released Government health survey, A Portrait of Health, showed that the numerous activities being carried out by Government and other stakeholders - along with those by many food companies in reformulating foods, decreasing serving sizes and putting in place marketing and advertising guidelines- showed that self regulation was the best option in fighting the obesity problem.

She said that recent market research showed that 94% of parents agreed that they have high levels of information about the products they buy – and the ability to choose “healthy” versus “unhealthy” foods. Hamilton said that parents also had strong control over what foods were purchased. “While children may have some influence over their parents’ food selection in terms of the type or variety of a product purchased – there are no indications that children are dominating the purchase decision process or manipulating parents into inappropriate food choices,” she said.

The main concern in the research is that healthy food is kept affordable to those trying to balance family budgets.

Hamilton also noted that trying to apply a regulatory tobacco model around banning certain foods was inappropriate as tobacco and food were totally different products.

“Every cigarette smoked is a danger; but a piece of cake or ice-cream eaten as part of balanced diet is not,” she said.

“After years of being involved around how and why people eat, it has been shown time and again that information about good eating and positive encouragement about how to achieve it is far better than wielding sticks and bans.”


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