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New report confirms that obesity is the challenge

14 May 2006

New report confirms that obesity is the challenge

A report showing that over half of New Zealanders are now classified as overweight or obese has provided fresh evidence that New Zealand's obesity epidemic is our most pressing public health challenge, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The report – An Indication of New Zealanders of Health prepared by Public Health Intelligence at the Ministry of Health – shows that 34 per cent of New Zealanders over the age of 15 are overweight and that 20 per cent are obese.

Pete Hodgson said that work to combat obesity has been underway at a government and community level for some time, but that it is now time to accelerate our efforts.

"A lot of people have been looking for a crisis in health," Pete Hodgson said. "This is it. One in five New Zealanders are obese and we can only begin to imagine what that will mean for the future of our health system.

"New Zealanders have become increasingly aware that obesity is a major problem – that's a good thing. But it's now time to turn our concern into action in our communities and with our families."

Among the reports other key finding is that only two in five New Zealanders are eating the recommended 5+ a day servings of fruit and vegetables.

The 2005 report contains a comprehensive and comparative set of key indicators. Each indicator provides an 'indication' of the state of the health area it represents.

The report is not descriptive and does not attempt to analyse cause-and-effect relationships. It is intended as a useful resource to stimulate further analysis by interested groups, such as DHBs and those working in the health sector.

The full report can be found at www.phionline.moh.govt.nz

ENDS

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