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Health link to poverty needs addressing


Maryan
STREET
Health Spokesperson
29 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
Health link to poverty needs addressing

The Expert Advisory Group’s report on poverty reinforces what we all know - that children living in poverty have worse health outcomes and we can’t continue to ignore it, Labour’s Health Spokesperson Maryan Street says.

“Their solutions are sensible and practical.

“The link between low income and poor health is obvious. Labour has said for a long time that the best health policies are those which focus on intervention early on.

“It is inexcusable that as a food-producing nation we are seeing some of our kids go without, yet the report highlights that poor nutrition is a real, and growing, problem.

“Kids who go to school without breakfast don’t learn as well as those who do. Poor nutrition in pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weights and childhood learning and developmental issues.

“Labour brought in fruit in schools which saw an immediate improvement in children’s behaviour and attentiveness. The current Government abandoned that and now leaves it to the private sector to support, in exchange for positive advertising for the sponsor.

“We brought in school tuck shop guidelines, which cost nothing, and meant that children at school only had healthy food options. This Government rescinded them, despite the fact that business had geared up to provide healthier food products.

“Labour brought in the Healthy Eating, Healthy Action programme which this Government has also abandoned, leaving communities to find their own means of encouraging healthy lifestyles.

“As the report points out, it is time to make some fundamental changes in health policy that not only look to improving the lives of our kids now, but into the future as well.

“We need a far more committed approach to poverty reduction if we are to improve children’s health outcomes. Hopefully this report will be the jolt the Government needs to bring about change,” said Maryan Street.



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