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The Wellbeing Budget lacked wellness – exercise expert says

The Wellbeing Budget lacked wellness – exercise expert says

May 31, 2019

The Wellbeing Budget simply lacked wellness, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

The Budget had very little to help lift New Zealand up from being the 13th worst in the world in physical activity statistics, he says.

“Exercise and physical activity are proven to help with many social issues, and in the early stages and prevention of many health conditions.

“It was good to see focus on mental health, but the Budget lacked enough emphasis on prevention.

“The Budget lacked leadership to address and prevent lifestyle conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes which could cripple the health system in the next 50 years unless urgent action is taken.

“There was little with a genuine hauora approach, a Maori philosophy for health and wellbeing using four walls. Wellbeing and wellness isn’t something that money can fix in isolation.

“If I have to give it a grade it’s an old-school C plus. Other than the mental health focus, it lacks true leadership and was tinkering in the most part in improving the health outcomes of Kiwis.

“There was nothing in it to address a trans-disciplinary approach to solving the big picture problems, other than offering more money in an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach.

“There is a limited amount of money to be spent and if more New Zealanders were physically active, then more of the health budget would be available for issues such as cancer treatment/drug funding rather so much healthcare costs related to preventable diseases.”

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Beddie says he was not won over by the Budget initiative of $47.6 million set aside over four years to support a new health promotion workforce. It’s a start, but it's not enough. Money isn’t the key here; leadership and long-term prevention strategies are and that's what this budget lacks, he says.

The Budget says many primary and intermediate schools will benefit from the work of physical activity advisors.

Research shows that only seven percent of five to 17-year olds are getting the recommended level of moderate to vigorous physical activity of 60 minutes a day, which is one of the worst in the world.

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