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Parties differ on obesity prevention

10 November 2011

Parties differ on obesity prevention

Political parties seeking election in 2011 have some very different approaches to preventing obesity, according to a report just released by Fight the Obesity Epidemic (FOE).

FOE obtained responses from seven parties considered as having some likelihood of gaining at least one seat. Parties were asked about five issues considered likely to contribute significantly to reducing obesity, and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

“One party stands out as having a clear picture of what is needed”, says FOE spokesperson Dr Robyn Toomath. “The Green Party show they fully understand the need to change the environment driving the obesity epidemic.”

Green policies commended by FOE include prohibiting junk food advertising on TV before 8.30pm, support for traffic light labelling on food packaging to help consumers distinguish healthier choices, and a tax on soft drinks.

“Labour, the Māori Party and New Zealand First also have a number of useful policies”, Dr Toomath says.

“Along with the Greens, these parties all support reinstatement of the provision in school administration guidelines that only healthy food is to be available for sale on school premises.” This provision was removed by the National-led government in February 2009.

Dr Toomath says she found the range of views on GST is of interest, particularly given that Labour is proposing to remove GST from fruit and vegetables.

The Māori Party advocates removal of GST from all food. National, ACT, United Future and the Green Party oppose removal of GST from fruit and vegetables. The Greens argue that this is not the most effective way to make healthy food more affordable.

The report is available on the FOE website (www.foe.org.nz).

About FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic)
FOE is a voluntary organisation working to stop and reverse the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children. It is looking to change the social, cultural, physical and regulatory environment so that it is easier for all New Zealanders, especially children, to maintain a healthy body weight.

ENDS

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