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Budget’s focus on disease doesn’t go far enough

26 May 2016
PRESS RELEASE – New Zealand Medical Students’ Association

Budget’s focus on disease prevention is good news but doesn’t go far enough– Medical Students

Budget 2016’s focus on preventative measures is to be applauded but does not go far enough says the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA).

“We acknowledge the government’s programme of increased tobacco taxation and healthy housing funding as excellent initiatives but warn that they do not go far enough” says NZMSA President Mike Fleete.

“The vast majority of government spending on health still focuses on expensive hospital services for chronic diseases that are often preventable.”

Vote Health expenditure has grown by over 15% in dollar terms over the last 5 years and yet has failed to curb a dramatic rise in chronic disease rates. Obesity rates are almost 15% higher than a decade ago and now 1 in 4 people are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

“New Zealand cannot simply spend its way out of poor health” says NZMSA President Mike Fleete, “We must increase the focus on preventing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity from happening in the first place”.

In light of strong scientific evidence backing the preventative approach, the NZMSA calls on the government to take the preventative approach further using its legislative and regulatory powers.

“The NZMSA believes health policy needs to use a broader set of tools than just government spending.”

“Steps such as regulating the advertising of unhealthy food, taxing sugar sweetened beverages and improving cycling and walking infrastructure have proven health benefits and are some of the most cost effective ways to reduce chronic disease” says Mike Fleete.

ENDS

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