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Ryall needs to put own house in order

Ryall needs to put own house in order

It’s a bit rich that Health Minister Tony Ryall should be offering his congratulations to the government’s chief science advisor in his new role in leading a global attack on childhood obesity when National has no strategy to tackle obesity at home, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

Sir Peter Gluckman was today appointed co-chair of the World Health Organisation’s Commission to end Childhood Obesity.

“If this Government is looking to strut its stuff on the world stage, then it needs to get its own house in order first.

“New Zealand has the fifth highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD, with one in nine Kiwi kids now classed as 'obese'.

“Yet we have a Government that has done little to combat it.

“Last week, in Budget 2014, after almost six years of denying we have an obesity problem Mr Ryall suddenly found $10 million a year to ‘encourage’ healthy diet and exercise initiatives in deprived and high risk areas, something he declared was ‘nanny state’ just a few short years ago.

“Another $10 million was pulled out of the hat for stomach stapling operations. Unfortunately bariatric surgery is real bottom of the cliff stuff.

“It is estimated bariatric surgery costs $2000 for every life saved, compared to $4 per year if television advertising of sugary food was reduced, for example.

"Not addressing the real drivers of poor health has put us on a path to high-cost unaffordable healthcare.

“Sir Peter has spearheaded some excellent research on obesity. It’s now up to Mr Ryall and the National government to listen to him and use that for the good of our kids.”

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