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$1.46m to give South Auckland families a healthy start

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Minister of Health

5 September 2013       Media Statement       

Healthy Families: $1.46 million to give South Auckland families a healthy start

The Government is investing almost $1.5 million in a new ‘whole of family’ nutrition and parenting project in South Auckland that will support all family members - from grandmas to cousins - who help feed and nurture their babies and toddlers.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says this is one in a series of Investments in Healthy Families the Government is making to help families around the country give their children a healthy start.

“Recent international research evidence and advice from Professor Sir Peter Gluckman suggests that preconditions for overweight and obesity are set very early,” Mr Ryall says.

“That’s why the government is focusing on improving women’s health in pregnancy and the postnatal period by promoting healthy eating and physical activity – and good nutrition for infants and toddlers.”
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says, “Up until now, we’ve largely focused infant nutrition messages on mothers and fathers. For many in our population, in particular Maori, Pacific and Asian communities, the wider family as infant and toddler caregivers and supporters of parents is very important.”

“How the wider family parents their youngest members is increasingly recognised as important in relation to preventing overweight and we see this as key for improving infant and toddler nutrition,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“It is about how we respond when an infant cries, or how food is used as part of expressing affection and managing behaviour in families, the many roles of food in family life.”

Counties Manukau DHB and a partnership of health and community providers, are introducing this whole of family approach into South Auckland.

They don’t want to make families feel guilty or worse, so first of all they’ll be canvassing those communities to find out what they want to know, and the best ways to support them make the changes that’ll make a difference,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“They’ll be looking for tools that work as well as budget cooking classes have for promoting adult nutrition.”
“The ‘whole of government’ nutrition project will be integrated to the DHB’s existing ‘First 2000 Days’ initiative,” Mr Ryall says, “The first 2000 Days spans the period from pre-conception, pregnancy, infancy through  to around the time children start school.

“The $1.463 million (inc. GST) announced is initially over two years and the project will be fully evaluated for potential further roll out. Funding is from within the Ministry of Health’s existing budget.”

ENDS

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