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Nutrition funding needed - Greens

A major increase in funding for health prevention and nutrition will be needed to meet the goals of the Health Strategy released today, Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

The Green Party strongly supports the strategy and its emphasis on health prevention, improving nutrition and the emphasis on healthy workplaces and schools. The strategy aims to reduce obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and child health.

At last we have a strategy which seeks to prevent people from becoming ill in the first place, instead of just treating people once they have become ill," Ms Kedgley said.

But more money will be needed to turn the words into a reality. At present only 2% of the health vote is spent on health prevention.

"Obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are caused in part by our high fat, highly processed, low fibre Western diet."

"Heart disease kills over ten times the number of people who die on our roads, and yet it is almost entirely preventable through changes in diet and lifestyle," Ms Kedgley said.

"Money we spend now on nutrition education and preventative health is an investment which will keep people healthier and more productive."

Ms Kedgley said eliminating environmental causes of diseases was essential to meeting the strategy's goal of better physical health, which included reducing the incidence and impact of cancer.

"We need to reduce hazardous chemicals and contaminants which are probable and possible causes of cancer such as toxic pesticides and dioxins," she said.

"If we keep pouring carcinogens like dioxins into the environment people will keep getting cancer," she said.

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728 or 025 270 9088 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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