New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine Media
30 August 2016
NZ's childhood obesity needs 'addressing
Action to reduce New Zealand's alarming childhood obesity rate
needs to focus on the physical and social environments we live in,
says the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.
A third of all Kiwi children are now overweight or obese, which
the College says "must be urgently addressed to improve their
current and future health".
"Interventions at an individual level alone are unlikely to be
successful in the long term," says the president-elect of the
College, Dr Felicity Dumble.
"We need to adapt our environment and change our social norms so
that it's easier for our children to establish and maintain a
The College recently released a policy statement addressing
childhood obesity; the policy recognised the issue as a significant
public health challenge.
Dr Dumble says the College recognises the government's
commitment to addressing childhood obesity, but says New Zealand's
childhood obesity plan should be reviewed and amended as a matter
of urgency, to fully reflect the World Health Organization's (WHO)
Ending Childhood Obesity.
"If all of our nation's children are to be healthy there must be
a higher priority placed on addressing the issues causing childhood
obesity," she says.
The WHO Report was released earlier this year, stating no single
intervention can halt the "rise of the growing obesity
It says that preventing and treating obesity requires a
government-wide approach, in which policies across all sectors take
health into account, avoid harmful impacts and thus improve
population health and health equity.
In line with the WHO report, Dr Dumble says the College strongly
supports three strategic objectives to help reduce childhood
obesity in New Zealand;
- Tackle the obesogenic environment and norms
- Reduce the risk of obesity by addressing critical elements in
the life course
- Treat children who are obese to improve their current and
For more information, contact Jane Dancer, General Manager, New
Zealand College of Public Health Medicine on 021 800 418
For a copy of the New Zealand College of Public
Health Medicine's Childhood Obesity Policy Statement,