17 April 2015

The NZMA welcomes the Healthy Families programme, launched by Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman in Gisborne today.

“This is a useful first step in countering the ‘obesogenic’ environment that makes it difficult for people to lose weight and improve their health,” says NZMA Chair Dr Mark Peterson. “But much more is needed.”

The NZMA’s policy briefing on obesity, released last year, set out a number of recommendations that require a whole-of-government and a whole-of-community response, including greater protection from marketing of unhealthy food, particularly for children; consistent and easy-to-understand food labelling and tools such as taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks.

“Obesity is a public health crisis in New Zealand,” says Dr Peterson. “Policy and regulatory measures are needed to complement community-based approaches such as Health Families. We need to do better to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Tackling Obesity is available on the NZMA’s website.