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NZMA supports obesity campaign

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

NZMA supports obesity campaign

The New Zealand Medical Association supports government moves to reduce and prevent obesity in New Zealanders.

This year's Budget contained a $76 million fund for a campaign to fight obesity, which has been described as New Zealand's greatest public health challenge.

Speaking at the health select committee today, Health Minister Pete Hodgson predicted that a major campaign could save the lives of between 1500 and 3000 New Zealanders.

"The NZMA wholeheartedly supports efforts to combat obesity, which is a serious and worsening health concern," said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell. "Preliminary results from the 2002/03 NZ Health Survey show that more than half of all adults are overweight or obese. They are at increased risk of serious illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.

"Worryingly, New Zealand children are among the most overweight and obese in the world. If nothing is done to combat it, they could become a generation who are outlived by their parents."

The NZMA has targeted the issue of obesity (and childhood obesity in particular) this year, with a view to determining what we can do to fight this epidemic.

"Doctors daily see the results of poor diet, lack of appropriate exercise and obesity, and we are well placed to help people make lifestyle changes," Dr Boswell said. "We look forward to helping with the design and delivery of the Government's campaign."

ENDS

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