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Progress On Health Outcome Targets 1999

Health Minister Annette King says the value of adopting priority health objectives in the New Zealand Health Strategy has been underlined by publication of the 1999 version of the annual report, Progress on Health Outcome Targets.

The Director-General of Health is required under the Health Act 1956 to produce an annual report on the state of the public health in New Zealand.

Mrs King said the New Zealand Health Strategy, launched last Monday, identified 13 priority population health objectives on which the Ministry of Health and new District Health Boards should focus.

"One of these objectives is to reduce smoking, for example. The 1999 report shows tobacco consumption is slowly reducing overall, but the worry is that consumption is static among young people.

"Another priority is reducing obesity. The need is reinforced by the 1999 report. While there has been a slight improvement in terms of physical activity, obesity has actually increased."

Mrs King said obesity contributed to a number of health problems, such as diabetes. "Yet the report shows the number of obese men has increased from 10 percent in 1989-90 to 15 percent in 1997, and the percentage of women from 13 to 19 percent in the same period.

"A further breakdown of the statistics for women shows that Pacific people have the highest proportion of obesity at 47 percent, while 28 percent of Maori women suffer from obesity. Those are statistics we badly need to turn around as a country."

Mrs King said it was encouraging that progress was being made in terms of some priority population health objectives, such as SIDS, increasing physical activity and reducing alcohol-related harm. But there had been no such progress in terms of breast cancer, diabetes, female youth suicide and tobacco-related mortality for women, she said.

"It is clear we have set the most appropriate priority health objectives. Now we need to start seeing improvement in each area."

Ends

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