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Obesity education should not be left to schools al

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

19 September 2006

Obesity education should not be left to schools alone

National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says the Government shouldn’t put the burden of reducing the nation’s waistline onto schools alone.

He is commenting on today’s Labour-Green announcement of a $3 million-a-year ‘nutrition fund’ for schools and early childhood services.

Mr Ryall says the Government is expected to announce more school-based initiatives on Thursday, including food guidelines for school catering, exercise promotion, and the phasing out of canteen soft drinks by year’s end.

“I hope this isn’t a sign that the Labour Government is going to place the burden of reducing the nation’s weight on schools alone,” says Mr Ryall.

“Kids are at school for only six hours a day, five days a week. Fighting the nation’s growing waistline will require a more co-ordinated, long-term approach.

“At less than $500 for every school and childcare centre, it’s not clear what gains are expected from this $3 million. Our research indicates that primary schools in particular are already making great strides in improving school lunch offerings.

”The trouble with so much of the obesity debate is that people think it’s all about someone else.

“There is a role for a strong public information campaign to inform parents and communities about the risks of overweight and lack of exercise,” says Mr Ryall.


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