21 October 2015

The Government’s obesity package, announced this week, does not go far enough, says the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA).

“We welcome the Government’s focus on obesity, but we need actions that will make it easy for people to make the healthy choice,” says NZMA Chair Dr Stephen Child. “As noted in our policy briefing last year—and in the World Health Organization’s recent report—these include greater protection from marketing of unhealthy food, particularly for children; consistent and easy-to-understand food labelling; and consideration of tools such as taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks.

“As Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills has pointed out, all these actions are missing from the Government’s plan.”

“Obesity is a public health crisis in New Zealand,” says Dr Child. “We believe that Government is in the best position to implement an integrated response to the obesity epidemic via a combination of legislative, regulatory and policy levers,” says Dr Child. ”We are disappointed that an opportunity has been missed

In its policy briefing, Tackling Obesity, the NZMA made a number of recommendations that require a whole-of-government and a whole-of-community response, to tackle potentially the greatest public health threat New Zealand faces over the next decade.

Tackling Obesity is available on the NZMA’s website.