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Be Cool; Drink Water

New Zealand Kidney Foundation National Drink Water Week

March 20 – 26, 2006

Be Cool; Drink Water

Kidney disease in New Zealand is increasing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that at least 268,000 adults in our community have significant kidney dysfunction.

The cost to the country per year for those already receiving renal replacement therapy is estimated to be around $80 million.

Diabetes is the biggest cause of kidney disease in New Zealand.

Between 20 - 26 March 2006, the New Zealand Kidney Foundation will be urging every person in the country to drink water in an effort to encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle, by choosing to opt for a drink of water over other alternatives.

“We need to be more proactive in ensuring the health and wellbeing of every person in our community. National Drink Water Week gives us an opportunity to promote a simple message with major health benefits,” says Mrs Gregan-Ford, National Education Manager for the New Zealand Kidney Foundation.

The New Zealand Kidney Foundation has sent information packs to every school in New Zealand, inviting all schools to take part in National Drink Water Week. Each pack includes posters, activities, information on the benefits of drinking water, colouring sheets and a word find.
Teachers and students are being encouraged to develop fun and creative activities themed around this campaign, which encourages children to choose water over other more expensive and less healthy drink options. Canteen supervisors are being asked to trial a ‘water only’ drink policy for the duration of National Drink Water Week.

Workplaces are also being invited to support the initiative. Options in the workplace include the installation of water coolers for employees, distributing water bottles to staff and clients, and displaying posters promoting the ‘water is cool’ message. “It is a simple concept. Increasingly we are seeing people carrying water bottles as a regular part of their everyday kit,” says Mrs Gregan-Ford. “We hope that a National Drink Water Week will encourage more people to make a positive choice to drink water and to raise awareness of the health benefits of water.”

Dr David Voss, a Nephrologist at Middlemore Hospital and Chairman of the Auckland Branch NZ Kidney Foundation is a strong advocate of the “prevention is better than cure” adage. “Generally a healthy heart diet and lifestyle is a lifestyle kind to the kidney,” says Dr Voss. In particular, early and effective treatment for high blood pressure, avoidance of kidney stones and urinary infections, and a generous daily intake of water are all ‘kidney kind’ actions.

Currently more than 3,000 patients per year are on some form of renal replacement therapy. While increased life expectancy combined with advances in medical treatment means medical practitioners treat more elderly people affected by renal failure than ever before, the epidemic of diabetes type 2 is also contributing to the increasing numbers affected by renal failure. New Zealand parallels an international trend indicating statistics are worse for the indigenous population where hereditary factors and poor nutrition contribute to higher than average numbers affected.

The Minister of Health, Hon Pete Hodgson, will be launching the week at the “Health and Lifestyle Expo” in Waitakere City on Sunday 19 March.
For further information on regional activities, visit the website


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