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Call To Action From Nutrition Groups

Call To Action From Nutrition Groups

Pedometers, apples and green prescriptions are just some of the tools for change this country’s nutrition and physical activity specialists will be exploring in the week ahead.

A “Call to Action” is the theme of the first national public health nutrition and physical activity conference to be hosted by Agencies for Nutrition Action (Christchurch May 23 – 25) with funding from the Ministry of Health and SPARC.

International and New Zealand keynote speakers will deliver presentations and research on such themes as what counts as evidence for action; behaviour change, social marketing strategies and programmes based on the wider environment and its effect on nutrition and physical activity.

Agencies for Nutrition Action (ANA) chairman Carolyn Watts says, “There has been a lot of discussion about problems such as childhood obesity, the causes, the lack of physical activity. This conference will look at ways to change the status quo; how to reach hard to reach audiences; how to address health and equalities.”

She says the issues to be discussed at the conference are highly topical and the people presenting papers are highly respected people in their fields.

“We’re delighted to have Professor Abby King from the Stanford University of Medicine who will be making two presentations – one looking at using a multi-disciplinary approach to the promotion of healthy lifestyles; the other behaviour change in action.”

A second international speaker, Associate Professor John Coveney from the Department of Public Health, at Flinders University, Adelaide will examine the topic of how not to widen health inequalities in food and nutrition policy initiatives.

The subjects of childhood obesity and of nutrition and physical activity issues in ethnic populations also feature in the programme which Ms Watts says has attracted 200 delegates from around New Zealand.

“The positive impact of good nutrition and physical activity on New Zealanders’ health cannot be over-emphasised,” she says. “We need to find the best ways to communicate the messages to ensure we’re not just talking about making a change for the better, but making it happen.”


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