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Strategy not enough to prevent childhood obesity


Press Release
24 October 2003

Strategy not enough to prevent
childhood obesity says coalition

The Obesity Action Coalition challenges the New Zealand Government to follow the lead given by the New South Wales State Government and commit money to dealing with childhood obesity.

Following a New South Wales Government initiated summit on Childhood Obesity held in 2002, the State Government yesterday announced it is committing $3.5million to an Action Plan for the Prevention of Obesity of Children and Young People.

The plan includes a Healthy School Canteen Strategy, a Centre of Overweight and Obesity where health experts will monitor the problem and evaluate the effectiveness of services and programs, a School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey and an Out-of-School-Hours Care Pilot Sport Program.

“Childhood obesity is a growing problem in New Zealand too and we need some serious money to deal with it. We know that more often than not fat children become fat adults,” says Celia Murphy, Executive Director of the Obesity Action Coalition.

“If we don’t get to work on preventing obesity in children now, many children will end up dying of obesity-related illnesses before their parents. Just talking about the problem isn’t going solve it, there needs to be commitment of money from the government.”

She says “The Healthy Eating Healthy Action” Strategy released by the Ministry of Health in New Zealand last year has the framework for really good work in obesity prevention. An implementation plan for the strategy is being devised by a group of experts at present but the plan won’t work unless it is adequately funded.”

The size of the problem in New Zealand will be quantified when the National Children’s Nutrition Survey is released on 7 November.

“We hope the results of the survey will move the government to recognise the seriousness of childhood obesity and act quickly,” says Ms Murphy.

ENDS

The Obesity Action Coalition represents 60 organisations focused on health, nutrition and physical activity as well as Maori and Pacific health groups all interested in addressing the growing problem of obesity and its related health issues.

Its role is to advocate for a wide range of initiatives including government policy, regulations and legislation that will positively influence obesity rates.

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