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Report highlights Government stupidity on obesity

July 13, 2009

Report highlights Government stupidity on obesity

News that New Zealand has the third highest rate in the OECD shows that the Government needs to make fighting obesity its top health priority, said the Green Party today.

The report puts New Zealand's obesity rate third highest in the OECD at 26.5 per cent in 2007, Mexico was at 30 per cent in 2006 and the United States led with 34.3 per cent of its population classed as obese in 2006.

“This report highlights the stupidity of the Government’s move to slash funding for public health initiatives aimed at preventing obesity,” said Green Party Health Spokesperson, Sue Kedgley.

“It’s alarming that New Zealand has the third highest obesity rate and what’s even more alarming is that the Government is doing nothing about it. They have even axed reducing obesity and improving nutrition as targets for District Health Boards.

“As this report shows, obesity is a huge problem in New Zealand and the Government needs to take its head out of the sand and make fighting obesity its top priority.”

It is estimated that there are over 8000 preventable deaths a year related to poor nutrition and obesity and the annual cost of obesity and diabetes to the heath system has been estimated at $900 million dollars. In the next 8 years it is forecast that the cost for Type 2 diabetes alone will rise to $1,300 million per annum.

“It is just common sense that we need to spend money on preventing illness. It saves money in the long run by stopping serious conditions developing that require people to be hospitalised at great expense to the tax payer,” said Ms Kedgley.

For earlier Green Party Press releases on this issue, see:

Ryall risks cutting off nose to spite face say Greens

Fundamental shift in health focus
Links to reports

OECD Health Data 2009 - Frequently Requested Data

Diabetes New Zealand - type 2 Diabetes – Outcomes Model Update, Price Waterhouse Cooper, September 2008 http://www.diabetes.org.nz/resources/docs/research_and_reports/Type_2_2008_Update.doc

Food, Nutrition and Health, Public Health Association of New Zealand position statement 2004 - www.pha.org.nz/policies/phapolicynutrition.pdf

Health and Participation: an active agenda - Advice to the Incoming Minister of Health 2005 http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/pagesmh/4343?Open

Ministry of Health Obesity website - www.moh.govt.nz/obesity


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