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Parents’ Role Key to Getting Kids Eating Healthily

Parents’ Role is Key to Getting Kids Eating Healthily

Media release, 24 May 2007


A new healthy eating programme offers parents a helping hand in ensuring their kids are getting healthy diets.

Feeding our Futures was launched today by the Minister of Health, Hon. Pete Hodgson, at the Agencies for Nutrition Action conference in Rotorua. It is the latest social marketing campaign from the Health Sponsorship Council (HSC).

The new campaign will deliver a series of tips for parents on ways of achieving healthy diets for their children, to be promoted through television, print and radio advertising.

The campaign is one of a number of initiatives put in place under the Government’s Healthy Eating - Healthy Action strategy, contributing towards the health goals of improving nutrition and preventing obesity in New Zealand.

Eating together regularly as a family, involving your kids in food preparation and providing water and milk instead of sugary drinks are the first three tips to be promoted to parents.

Michelle Mako, Feeding our Futures Programme Manager said when families cooked and ate together, children were more likely to eat healthy foods.

“If your children help you cook or prepare a meal, they’ll learn about healthy food and are more likely to try the food they’ve helped to make. Research also shows that when children eat together with the family they are more likely to eat better, such as eating more vegetables.

She said the third campaign message was that water or milk should be the first choice for children, as kids don’t need sweet drinks.

Professor Jim Mann, from the Department of Human Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Otago explains, “There is considerable evidence that sugary drinks contribute to weight gain in children, and increase their risk of obesity. Instead, provide water or milk. Water is freely available on tap and milk is great for building strong bones and teeth.”

Professor Mann said providing parents and caregivers with tips on accessible, practical and easy ways they can achieve healthy diets for kids is just one way of working towards healthy weight outcomes for children.

“Overweight and obesity are a real problem in New Zealand. One in three children are overweight or obese and obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and some cancers.

“The Government has put in place a number of initiatives to promote improved nutrition, increased physical activity and the maintenance of healthy weight. Feeding our Futures is about encouraging families to improve the way they eat together, so their children are eating healthier food and get used to adopting positive eating practices as they grow into their teens.

“Evidence shows that younger children have healthier diets, but as they start to get older, parents and caregivers need new strategies and ways of continuing to positively influence their children’s diets. This campaign provides some of those strategies.”

By talking directly to parents in the home environment, the new programme will complement other initiatives underway that work towards improving nutrition and the maintenance of healthy weight, such as those introduced recently under Mission On.

The advertising campaign will be supported by $500,000 worth of free advertising per year for the next two years provided by the New Zealand Television Broadcaster’s Council as part of a voluntary agreement to improve food advertising to children.


Key numbers for the TVCs are:
HSC/030/075 Family Life - Kids
HSC/015/076 Family Life - Family Dinner - Tip One
HSC/015/077 Family Life - Goggles - Tip Two
HSC/015/078 Family Life - Sweet Drinks - Tip Three
HSC/030/079 Family Life - Kids (Maori)
HSC/015/080 Family Life - Family Dinner (Maori) - Tip One
HSC/015/081 Family Life - Goggles (Maori) - Tip Two
HSC/015/082 Family Life - Sweet Drinks (Maori) Tip Three

ENDS


FEEDING OUR FUTURES
Questions and Answers
24 May 2007


What is Feeding our Futures?

Feeding our Futures is a new national social marketing programme designed to help parents and caregivers ensure their children are getting a healthy diet.

The first stage of the programme includes a mass media campaign that will talk to parents about healthy eating in the home, through television, print and radio advertising, as well as unpaid media.

Over time, the programme will work with public health providers and priority communities and support them to help parents to achieve healthy diets for their children and families, whether at home or in the wider environment.

Feeding our Futures has been developed by the HSC and is a key initiative from the Government’s Healthy Eating – Healthy Action (HEHA) Strategy, [http://www.moh.govt.nz/healthyeatinghealthyaction], to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and achieve a healthy weight for all New Zealanders.

Why do we need a healthy eating programme?

New Zealand is experiencing a rapid rise in the rate of obesity in both adult and child populations, with significant implications for public health. In New Zealand, one in 10 children are obese, (10%) and a further 21% are overweight. Twenty one percent of adults are obese and a further 35% are overweight.

Overweight and obesity results from an imbalance in energy i.e. that the amount of energy intake (from food and beverages) is greater than energy expenditure (through physical activity).

Good nutrition and healthy eating practices in childhood are important in shaping lifelong behaviours, as well as affecting overall health and wellbeing. We know that parents, families and whanau are central to developing healthy eating practices early in life. By supporting parents and caregivers with information about accessible, affordable and easy ways they can promote healthy diets for their children, Feeding our Futures aims to improve health outcomes for children.

What factors contribute to the problem?

The World Health Organization (2003) has reviewed the evidence for a number of factors that promote or protect against weight gain and obesity. It found convincing evidence that:

- regular physical activity reduces the risk of unhealthy weight gain, whereas sedentary lifestyles promote it
- high intake of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP)/dietary fibre reduces the risk of unhealthy weight gain
- high intake of energy-dense micronutrient-poor (EDNP) foods promotes weight gain.

It found probable evidence that:

- high intake of sugars-sweetened beverages promotes weight gain
- home and school environments that support healthy food choices for children reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain
- heavy marketing of fast-food outlets and EDNP foods and beverages promotes weight gain
- breastfeeding reduces the risk of unhealthy weight gain
- adverse socio-economic conditions promote weight gain.

What is social marketing?

Social marketing involves the application of commercial marketing techniques to social issues. It provides a practical framework for delivering behaviour change in a social context and involves communicating messages to key audiences to influence their thinking and behaviours. Other successful social marketing programmes delivered by the HSC include Smokefree, Auahi Kore, and SunSmart (see www.hsc.org.nz).

How does Feeding our Futures fit in with the Government’s Healthy Eating – Healthy Action (HEHA) programme?

The HSC has been contracted by the Ministry of Health to deliver a social marketing programme to promote messages about healthy eating as a part of the HEHA strategy.

HEHA also includes initiatives such as Fruit in Schools and the Food & Beverage Classification System. Feeding our Futures complements the efforts underway in schools and communities, as it offers a direct platform for talking to parents and caregivers of school-aged children about the benefits and outcomes of improving a child’s diet in the home environment.

Who is the target audience?

The programme aims to benefit children, particularly those aged 8 – 12 years. It will do this by targeting parents and caregivers with information that helps them to have a positive influence on their children’s diets.

The 2002 Children’s Nutrition Survey found that the nutrition status of children 5 – 7 years old is appreciably better that that of older children (7 – 14 year olds).

Parents and caregivers of older children need new strategies and ways of continuing to ensure that their children are eating well. That’s why Feeding our Futures seeks to support parents by reinforcing the important role they play and providing them with tips for healthy eating they can adopt as their children move into their teenage years.

The programme will prioritise parents and caregivers in Maori, Pacific and low socio-economic households, to ensure the messages are most effective for these groups. These audiences have also been identified as priority groups in the HEHA Strategy.

What does the multi-media campaign consist of?

The campaign includes television, print and radio advertising. It also has a public relations component.

The television commercials promote tips for healthy eating including eating together as a family, getting children to help with food preparation and making water or milk the first choice for children.

The media campaign will supported by free television airtime, provided by the New Zealand Television Broadcasters’ Council, valued at $500,000 per annum over the next three years.

Who is leading the programme?

The HSC has developed the programme with support from Agencies for Nutrition Action. HSC is a Government-funded social marketing agency that promotes health and healthy lifestyles. It will deliver Feeding our Futures alongside other programmes managed by HSC including Smokefree, Auahi Kore, SunSmart and Problem Gambling. Visit www.hsc.org.nz for more information.

Why have these three tips been chosen?

The three tips in the ads are based on current evidence and on strategies being used in other countries for promoting improved nutrition. Evidence suggests that when families sit and eat home-cooked food together regularly children are more likely to eat healthier foods, such as more vegetables. Plus they learn from observing other family members’ eating behaviours and have the benefit of increased opportunities to communicate as a family and share stories.

When children get involved with making a meal, they learn about the food they are eating, develop new skills, and they are more likely to taste foods they have helped prepare, making it easier for parents to introduce more healthy foods into their diets.

There is extensive evidence that sugary drinks contribute to weight gain in children. The 2002 Children’s Nutrition Survey found that almost one half of New Zealand children drank carbonated drinks and colas weekly and between a third and a half drank powdered and cordial drinks.

Water and milk are a better choice for kids, as water is freely available on tap, has no added sugar and is great for quenching thirst. Milk is great for building strong bones and teeth and is high in nutrients. Whole milk is recommended for infants/toddlers under the age of 2 years. After 2 years of age children can drink reduced-fat milk. Non-flavoured milk is best as it has no added sugar.

The programme aims to take parents on a journey into healthy eating, building their knowledge of simple, accessible and easy-to-adopt tips they can introduce into everyday family life.

How bad is New Zealand’s obesity problem?

In the last 20 years, the number of overweight and obese people in developed countries has increased so quickly that it has been described as an epidemic, and New Zealand is no exception.

The World Health Organization has estimated that the cost for obesity is 2 to 7 percent of the annual health budget, which equates to $303 million in New Zealand.

Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke, gallstones and some cancers. Improved nutrition and increased physical activity would significantly reduce the prevalence of obesity.

Evidence shows that:

 approximately 11,000 deaths each year in New Zealand can be attributed to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity
 of these 11,000 deaths, 8,000 to 9,000 are likely to be due to dietary factors alone, and the remaining 2,000 to 3,000 due to sub-optimal physical activity levels
 70 percent of the deaths from stroke and heart disease are caused by poor nutrition, and 80 percent of diabetes is attributable to overweight and obesity
 two well-established nutrition-related risk factors – cholesterol and blood pressure – along with tobacco smoking, are the three major modifiable causes of premature death.

Where can I get more information about the campaign?

More information about the campaign is available on the Feeding our Futures website www.feedingourfutures.org.nz or on the HSC website www.hsc.org.nz/nutrition.

Who do we contact for media interviews/more information?

Anna Passera, Senior Marketing and Communications, Healthy Eating Team. Call 021 78 22 66 or 04 472 577, or email anna@hsc.org.nz.

Advertising Key Numbers for the TVCs:

HSC/030/075 Family Life - Kids
HSC/015/076 Family Life - Family Dinner - Tip One
HSC/015/077 Family Life - Goggles - Tip Two
HSC/015/078 Family Life - Sweet Drinks - Tip Three
HSC/030/079 Family Life - Kids (Maori)
HSC/015/080 Family Life - Family Dinner (Maori) - Tip One
HSC/015/081 Family Life - Goggles (Maori) - Tip Two
HSC/015/082 Family Life - Sweet Drinks (Maori) Tip Three

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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