PHA media release, 17 March
The PHA welcomes Health Minister Hon Tony Ryall's, announcement
of the first step in the roll out of the Government's new healthy
eating and anti-obesity initiative - Healthy Families NZ.
"We are delighted the Government is publicly recognising the
importance of New Zealand families being able to live healthy,
active lives," says PHA President Dr Jean Simpson.
Dr Simpson says the focus on a specific and discrete number of
high-risk communities is particularly pleasing as it will allow a
robust evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme as it is
"The Minister talks of this programme as part of the
Government's approach to addressing the underlying causes of poor
health through partnership with communities. This approach is
welcome because the building blocks for good health are laid in the
early years in family, school and community life," Dr Simpson
"To be confident Healthy Families NZ is successful, particularly
for poorer children, we expect the programme will include
Government-level action to ensure families have the resources
required to make healthy choices."
About 180,000 children in New Zealand (17 percent) are missing
out on things they need - and that the rest of our society takes
for granted - including adequate footwear, seeing a doctor or
getting a prescription when they are sick. They are going without
the sufficient meat, fruit and vegetables needed for a healthy
"The Government needs to address secure employment so families
have sufficient income to choose healthy foods. Healthy foods are
often more expensive to buy than unhealthy foods and costly
footwear is often needed for taking part in healthy activities such
as organised sport.
"We need to ensure secure housing so low-income families have
don't have to shift all the time because they can't afford the
rent. This will ensure they can build community relationships, grow
gardens, join clubs and make lasting friendships. Children need to
be able to stay at one school and not be constantly on the move or
sharing crowded housing with other families.
"There's not enough good public transport in many places. Work
may be available, but if it is distant from their homes, people
need good transport systems so they can get to work on time and
home again at a reasonable hour to care for their children.
"We need to ensure consistently fair conditions at work so
people can take leave when their children are sick without losing
"These are the sorts of policies we expect to see addressed in
Healthy Families NZ so individuals, families and communities are
empowered to make healthy choices in their lives, and when all
communities enjoy good health, everybody in New Zealand will
benefit," Dr Simpson said.