News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Waikato children Energized to have healthier lives

11 October 2013

Waikato children Energized to have healthier lives – spend $45/child/year now and gain quality and quantity of life

Analysis from AUT University has confirmed a healthy eating and activity programme now in all Waikato primary schools is saving taxpayers money as well as improving lives.

A paper published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, confirms Project Energize will help Waikato children live longer and healthier lives because of their healthier lifestyles and weight. The measure of improvement of life, the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) has an associated health care cost-between $20,000 and $30,000 for every QALY gained for the population. QALY is a measure of time that is defined as ‘quality life’.

The data for the cost-effective analysis was taken from a recently published paper in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition. That paper indicated that the prevalence of obesity and overweight among all children was 15% less than for Waikato children not in the programme measured in 2004 and 2006. Also children involved in Project Energize could run 550m (physical fitness) 10% faster than children from another region.

The success of Project Energize has led to the programme being rolled out to clusters of schools in Franklin and Northland as well as the Ministry of Health recently announcing recently $1.1million of funding for it to be expanded to over 100 pre-schools and 4000 children in the Waikato.

Project Energize is funded by the Waikato District Health Board and is run by Sport Waikato through a team of 27 ‘Energizers’. Each Energizer works with 8 to 12 primary schools and teachers to support physical activity and healthier eating activities.

The Energizers work closely with the teachers taking ”Huff and Puff” games and activities that get all the children moving, demonstrations of why water and milk are the best drinks and how to make a healthy cheap sandwich.

Lead researcher, AUT’s Professor Elaine Rush, says Project Energize is going from strength to strength and demonstrably improving the lives of Waikato children, their families, their teachers and the nutrition and physical activity environment of the school.

“While obviously there is an initial cost to run Project Energize, it saves money long-term by reducing the healthcare budget. Waikato DHB should be congratulated for its forethought in improving the health of people in this part of the country,” she says.

Currently Waikato DHB allocate just under $2million annually for the project but at less than $45 per child it is good value for money says Professor Rush. This is less than the cost of one visit to a doctor.

“We know the investment we make into Project Energize is one we will get great returns on for many years to come in the form of healthier adults who will cost the health sector less,” said Waikato DHB chief executive Craig Climo.

“The positive effect of the work Project Energize does with these children is far reaching. What they learn at school, they pass on at home. Healthy lifestyles benefit families mentally as well as physically,” he says.

Professor Rush says children are growing and are meant to get bigger. “Growing too fast, not eating the best foods and not being able to run fast has flow-on adverse health implications for the rest of the child’s life.

“These effects are intergenerational so this will benefit the next generation as well. It is for our children’s children,” she says.

Background

Researchers looked at the projected lifetime cost of the treatment of 14 obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and chronic heart failure which are associated with too rapid growth in childhood.

That figure was extrapolated for a child’s lifetime, multiplied by the number of fewer overweight children in order to determine the long term return on investment in Project Energize for the Waikato DHB.

The programme is delivered to all 44,000 primary aged children in the Waikato children, 36% of whom are Māori. This is 10% of the New Zealand primary school population and 15% of the New Zealand primary school population who are Māori.

Project Energize was initiated in 2004 with an objective of improving the health and wellbeing of children in the Waikato. An on line publication in June 2013 of the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition confirms that in 2011 Waikato children have a healthier body weight for age and can run faster than children measured 5 to 10 years earlier The analysis took into consideration ethnic group school and school socio-economic status, sex and age.

This evaluation involved 5110 children from 192 schools with more than one third of the children and families involved in the programme and evaluation being Māori.

See more at: www.waikatodhb.health.nz/projectenergize

Findings

Measurements from over 5000 Energized children in 2011 published in British Journal of Nutrition indicates….

· The prevalence of obesity and overweight among all children at least 15% less than for ‘unEnergized’ Waikato children measured in 2004 and 2006.

· Weight for height (BMI) was reduced by more than 3%

· The children could run 550m (physical fitness) 10% faster than children from another region.

Cost analysis from the Obesity Research and Clinical Practice

Younger children Incremental cost/QALY

All children $30,438

Maori only $28,241

Older children

All children $24,690

Maori only $22,151

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news