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Launch of the 'LiveSmart' campaign

Launch of the 'LiveSmart' campaign

Today we celebrate the official launch of the partnership between Foodstuffs and the Cancer Society with the LiveSmart Programme. The approach taken by Foodstuffs, through their New World supermarket chain, aims to promote healthy foods as the easy choice for consumers.

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Welcome to the team from the Cancer Society and Foodstuffs, to my parliamentary colleagues from the Health Select Committee, and to everyone else here today. The Health Select Committee has been hearing evidence and debate on obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how we can reduce the growing burden ill health.

Carrying excess body weight is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for a number of diseases, including cancer. When we examine our population statistics for overweighted-ness and obesity over the last 30 years we realise there must have been profound changes in the way we live. Let me illustrate:

The prevalence of overweight was relatively stable from 1977 to 2003, averaging 41 percent in males and 27 percent in females. In contrast, the prevalence of obesity doubled from 1977 to 2003, from 9 to 20 percent in males and 11 to 22 percent in females.

Most of the increase in the prevalence of obesity has occurred since 1989.

This issue is particularly important for Pacific adults who were more likely to be obese (43 per cent), followed by Mâori (28 per cent), European/Others (19 per cent) and Asian people (6 per cent).

The statistics are alarming. There is no single cause or factor, which we can pinpoint to reverse the situation. It has been said time and time again that it requires actions from all of us - from families and communities, schools, workplaces, business industry and government. We may learn from our actions and modify our approaches, but inaction is not an option.
This Labour-led Government is committed to the fight against obesity with a $76 million investment over the next four years through the Healthy Eating - Healthy Action (HEHA) implementation. Additionally we are working across society to help our young people adopt healthier active lives as a normal part of growing up in New Zealand. The Prime Minister launched this $67 million initiative 'Mission-On' at the World Health Organization meeting in Auckland ten days ago.

The push to better understand how today's diet affects health and weight in the future is becoming increasingly important. In order to feel and perform well, we all need to eat healthy food and increase levels of physical activity.

The importance of adding more vegetables and fruit into daily diets, and the ability to directly market to people at the time of purchase, is a powerful enabler to promoting healthier lifestyles. This not only makes business sense, but also makes sense for improved health. Research tells us that people who eat lots of vegetables and fruit are also more likely to have a healthier body weight and a lesser risk of getting some cancers and other chronic health conditions.

The causes for our obeseogenic society are multifaceted - and so too are the remedies. Transforming how we live, work and play requires many players. Partnership with the food industry is a critical means of supporting positive changes for all New Zealanders in their choices of food and a healthier lifestyle.

The work between the Cancer Society and Foodstuffs, and the promotion of LiveSmart in New World supermarkets, fulfils the purpose of business while it creates health value for customers. Congratulations.

Thank you for the opportunity to be at this launch. I will now hand you over to John Loof, CEO, Auckland Cancer Society.


ENDS

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