The growing issues of childhood obesity has health officials discussing the best ways of how to tackle the issue.
More than 10 per cent of New Zealand’s children are considered obese, and this number doubles amongst Maori children, Pacific children, and children from poorer homes says managing director of Nga Mataapuna Oranga Janice Kuka.
Childhood obesity was the subject of discussion at a seminar last week.
The day-long seminar, held last week, organised by Nga Mataapuna Oranga Primary Health Organisation, in association with PHARMAC and Te Manu Toroa, gathered a range of practitioners who deal with the consequences of childhood obesity daily.
Janice says childhood obesity can have lifelong impacts, including physical and mental health, as well as educational achievement, social interactions, and future career plans.
She says local attempts to come up with solutions in the past seem to fall flat.
“Our regional attempts to address childhood obesity through the health and disability sector have been frustrated by the complexity of the problem.”
Keynote speaker Dr Rob Beaglehole, who is an advocate for taxing sugar as one way of combating the problem, made a plea for action and shocked some of the seminar attendees.
He focused on the risks that sugar and sugary drinks present to children.
Seminar facilitator Graham Bidios Cameron says Rob’s presentation hit home for him, particularly around the “hard and unavoidable realities” of obesity in children, and he believes that something needs to be done.
“Communities like the Bay of Plenty need to lead change here with our own policies, strategies, and actions.”