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Budget 2014: Oral Health and Bariatric Surgery Announcements

Hon Tariana Turia

Associate Minister for Health

20 May 2014

Budget 2014: Oral Health and Bariatric Surgery Announcements

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia announced an additional health initiative in Budget 2014 today, new operating funding of $10 million for Better Oral Health for children and adolescents over the next four years.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says the Better Oral Health announcement aligns with the Government's preventative health measures and has been recommended by the Health Select Committee. The new funding will support a range of activities that promote better oral health for children and adolescents. In particular, the promotion will aim to increase regular tooth brushing (with fluoride toothpaste) among pre-school children, and to increase the number of adolescents using the free oral health services that are available to them. As well health promotions will include information about the importance of reducing the intake of sugary food and drink as part of a healthy diet.

“The oral health of our families starts when they are young. We need to start educating our children when they are babies about the importance of brushing teeth twice daily from an early age. We should also continue to actively campaign against foods and drinks with high levels of sugar and particularly the impact of juices and sugary drinks in babies’ bottles. It is vital that we get the necessary information to our communities in the right way so that they are able to make informed choices about their health and the health of their children,” Mrs Turia says.

“There is also a budget of $10 million which has been set aside for at least 480 bariatric surgery operations over four years within the elective-surgery initiative of $110 million announced on Budget day last week,” Mrs Turia says.

“Bariatric surgery can improve health dramatically for those who suffer from obesity and are struggling to lose weight through diet and/or exercise. Weight-related illnesses such as diabetes, sleep apnoea and hypertension can also be improved through bariatric surgery, and I am pleased that this Government has strengthened its commitment to fund this type of surgery,” Mrs Turia says.

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