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Raising healthy kids – it’s about whānau

24 October 2017

Raising healthy kids – it’s about whānau

Health professionals are urging parents to get support to help their kids maintain their health through childhood.

Obesity rates have risen dramatically over the past 30 years. Efforts to curb weight concerns in children include referring them for assessment and support if they’re identified as being overweight, or needing further support, during their B4 School Check.

Although this has been generally well-received, 49 percent of Māori families and 19 percent of Pasifika families have declined referrals for support.

“Being overweight has a serious effect on a child’s quality of life, and leads to a wide range of health problems and increased risk of serious illness” said Capital & Coast DHB Pacific peoples health director Taima Fagaloa.

“We want children to stay fit, happy and healthy. That’s why we encourage families to take up these referrals – Active Families provides opportunities for kids to get more active and, families to learn ways to stay healthy.”

When connecting with kids, the Sport Wellington Active Families team meets with whānau– usually at home – to plan simple ways family members can make lifestyle change.

While some families can feel daunted by the process, Sport Wellington shapes their support for each family and the Preschool Active Families initiative is a great opportunity for families with young children to connect.

“It’s an opportunity to pause, take stock of what’s going well, and what – as a family – you’d like to change. Our role is to come alongside you and help,” said Child and Whānau team leader, Katie Siueva.

“We also provide education to whānau about healthy eating -especially within a budget. We can point them towards other community groups they may not be aware of, like their local fruit and vegetable co-op.”

To date, 77 percent of greater Wellington children identified as overweight or very over weight have accepted a referral. The DHB aims to lift that to at least 95 percent.


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