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Mission On Student Health Promotion Launch Q And A

Mission On Student Health Promotion Launch Q And A

Embargoed to Friday 29 June

What is “Mission On”?

Mission-On is a package of initiatives aimed at improving the lifestyles of young New Zealanders by targeting improved nutrition and increased physical activity.

The Ministers for Sport and Recreation, Education, Health and Youth Affairs developed the package to grab young people’s attention through high profile fun activities and technology that pushes their buttons.

It is being co-ordinated by SPARC in partnership with the Ministries of Education, Health and with support from the Ministry of Youth Development.

Why is it needed?

Children and young people in New Zealand currently live in an environment that has increasing options for sedentary activities; increased barriers to physical activity; and increased availability of energy-dense foods. This is reflected in negative health trends such as:

 Increasing levels of overweight and obese children and young people
 Increasing numbers of young people who are sedentary
 Lower socio economic communities with poorer nutritional intake and greater rates of obesity – Māori and Pacific peoples who are over-represented in lower socio-economic populations.

 Mission-On is targeting New Zealanders up to the age of 24 - to establish healthy behaviours before a child enters school and to embed healthy decision making after young people leave the school and family environments.

Where does the Student Health Promotion initiative fit in?

The Student Health Promotion initiative, the second of ten in the Mission-On package, seeks outcomes of improved health, educational achievements and a valued “Kiwi lifestyle” among primary, intermediate and secondary students.

The Student Health Promotion initiative will feature a series of high profile events at schools across the country, from June to December 2007.

When and where will the launch be held?

The Student Health Promotion initiative will be launched at St James School in Christchurch on June 29.

Why St James School?

St James was chosen for their achievements in creating a healthy food environment and delivering healthy eating messages to their students, parents, whānau and the whole school community.

What will happen at the launch?

St James is a multi-cultural school incorporating Samoan, Maori, Tongan and NZ European ethnic groups. The Minister of Health, the Hon Pete Hodgson, who is attending the June 29 launch, will be welcomed in Maori and Samoan followed by a Samoan dance and hongi.

The launch will feature entertaining activities for the students, including cooking demonstrations involving the Minister. There will be educational and fun games, a range of physical activities and performances from the school and a hip hop group. The hip hop dancers will also take the pupils through some high impact dance routines at an activity station, and will give a 10-minute performance to close the event. Students will be given Mission-On branded merchandise and clothing as giveaways and prizes.

What happens after the launch?

A series of similar events will be held in further schools across the nation. These events will showcase students’ good work to their communities, and congratulate schools that prioritise healthy lifestyle messages and activities.

What is the aim of the events?

By engaging students in these events, a sense of shared responsibility and ownership is more likely to develop. Evidence suggests that although most young people know about basic food groups and what foods are healthy, many do not consider the long-term impact of poor nutrition decisions and change their behaviours accordingly.

The school’s approach and experiences of promoting healthy eating will be documented and shared with other schools who are also trying to promote healthy eating. In conjunction with these experiences, the aim of this public recognition is to encourage all schools to consider where they are at with health promotion, and how to look at next steps for their own school.

What are the other initiatives?

(a) Improving nutrition within the school and early childhood environments.

(b) “Lifestyle Ambassadors” – a group of high profile New Zealanders from the fields of television, film, sport and music have been appointed, to promote healthy choices and to model healthy positive lifestyles.

(c) Youth branded websites that are interactive, dynamic and technology savvy to engage students in active learning and healthy nutrition choices, physical activities and related healthy lifestyles.

(d) “Walk the Talk” encourages the state sector to make responsible decisions about work environments and conditions of employment to encourage healthy nutrition and physical activity amongst employees.

(e) A campaign promoting ‘screen-free’ time for children and young people has been developed in association with SPARC’s Push Play social marketing campaign.

(f) Ministry of Health officials are working with the Food Industry Accord, the New Zealand Broadcasters Council and the Advertising Standards Authority to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy foods.

(g) Television and radio are being used to encourage children and young people to think about their lifestyles, discuss the issues confronting them and make healthy food and physical activity choices. Key children’s programming will be utilised, including Studio 2 and What Now, which are interactive shows with high audience ratings.

(h) Health/Human Impact Assessments (HIA) will be done when proposing new policy or legislation, to ascertain how this new policy may impact on our healthy lifestyles.

(i) SPARC’s Green Prescription (GRx) programme will be expanded to allow more New Zealanders, especially young people, children and their families to access the service.


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