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Childhood obesity plan a fat lot of good

Childhood obesity plan a fat lot of good

The government’s Childhood Obesity Plan doesn’t go nearly far enough to address the alarming increase in childhood obesity, according to the Soil & Health Association.

“There are some commendable actions in this plan, but the rise of obesity in children is serious and we need much bolder action to prevent major costs to the health system and to society,” says Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health.

“Diet is a major part of the problem. We need nutrition education for children and adults, and need to promote healthy food choices in a variety of ways,” says Thomson.

“We would like to see more healthy food options available in schools, and the removal of junk food, including sugar-laden fizzy drinks and diet drinks – neither of these are healthy options. Instead we recommend that good quality pure water should be promoted and readily available in schools.”

“Soil & Health supports a tax on sugary drinks, echoing the World Health Organization’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity in their draft report,” says Thomson. “More evidence of the effectiveness of a sugar tax will become available as more countries implement such taxes.”

The government’s Childhood Obesity Plan acknowledges that ‘children’s food choices and requests are strongly influenced by advertising’, but leaves it to the Advertising Standards Authority to review their Code for Advertising to Children and the Children’s Code for Advertising Food.

“We should not be leaving this to industry. We ask the government to take strong leadership on this, and legislate or regulate to restrict the advertising and marketing of unhealthy food to children,” says Thomson.

For nearly 75 years Soil & Health has promoted safe, natural, unprocessed organic food. Through the magazine Organic NZ the Association educates people about healthy food, healthy soil and healthy lifestyle choices.

ENDS

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