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New Zealanders to benefit

28 May 2004

New Zealanders to benefit from boost to sport and recreation funding

The Ministry of Health supports the $30 million cash injection into vote sport and recreation, which will help New Zealanders remain healthy and active, keeping them out of doctors' surgeries and hospitals.

"Around $13 million of this money will fund SPARC's implementation of the key physical activity initiatives in the Ministry of Health led Health Eating, Healthy Action strategy over the next four years." Says the Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi.

'The Ministry encourages increasing activity and healthy living particularly activity that is suitable for an individual's fitness and ability. We also promote the use of Sport and Recreation New Zealand's (SPARC) Green Prescription initiative, that involves GPs and practice nurses prescribing physical activity for inactive people with stable medical conditions and supporting them to remain active. Physical exercise is tremendously important to health.'

In a 1999 Ministry of Health report physical inactivity is estimated to account for over 2,600 deaths per year, amounting to 29,000 years of lost life per year. A 10 percent increase in participation in physical activity could result in 600 fewer deaths per year.

SPARC is the government agency responsible for getting New Zealanders moving. The Ministry of Health is interested in targeting inactive adults and children who need help the most.

The Ministry is very supportive of SPARC's approach which is to establish physical activity initiatives suitable for children from early childhood through to intermediate school children.

'Spending money on preventing illness due to inactivity may help save spending money on operations and other treatments after people get sick.'


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