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Taskforce wanted to tackle Diabetes

26 July 2006

Taskforce wanted to tackle Diabetes

NZNO wants a national expert taskforce established to tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In an oral submission to the Health Select Committee's Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 diabetes held in South Auckland today (July 26), professional nursing adviser Angela Clark, said taskforce members would be drawn from a wide range of sectors, must be independent of the food industry and must be able to genuinely influence policy. The Government must listen to its recommendations," she said.

Maori were traditionally healthy people but the impact of cultural integration and the imposition of values and practices of others were contributing factors to the epidemic of diabetes among Maori, a nurse with a Maori health provider and a national komiti member of Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO, Paulette Taylor, told the committee.

Banning advertising of fast foods and foods of poor nutritional value would help reverse the obesity and type 2 diabetes statistics among Maori.

She said initiatives such as teaching the skills to create a garden, supporting community and school gardens and assisting whanau to learn from traditional Maori activities and food practices would all help reduce the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes among Maori. Programmes should be delivered on marae and in schools.

Chair of NZNO's diabetes nurse specialists' group Bobbi Milne outlined the successful cross-sector Let's Beat Diabetes programme in place at Counties Manukau District Health Board.

Speaking after the presentation of the oral submission, Clark said if the Government was serious about tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes it must also be serious about paying primary health care nurses fairly. "Those nurses are essential to deliver the Government's Primary Health Care Strategy and they will be essential in delivering any initiatives aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet, they are now paid up to $200 less a week than their colleagues in district health boards. Unless this pay gap is rectified, there won't be enough primary health care nurses to do the job and provide the necessary expertise," Clark said.


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