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Govt's attempt to tackle obesity 'feeble' - King

By Jessica Beresford

Published: 2:01PM Wednesday May 22, 2013 Source: ONE News

  •  (Source: Thinkstock)
    Source: Thinkstock

The Government has taken its "eye off the ball" when it comes to tackling obesity, Labour's Health spokesperson Annette King says.

Around $60 million a year is invested across a range of initiatives targeting obesity in New Zealand, including KiwiSport, Green Prescriptions and the Fruit in Schools programme for low-decile schools.

The 2013 Budget allocated $7.2 million dollars to double the number of Green Prescriptions issued over the next four years.

King said while the initiatives were a useful tool, obesity needed to be one of the major ongoing campaigns for Government.

"If Green Prescriptions are the answer to everything, why hasn't it worked a long time ago?" she said.

"Unless the Government makes obesity a priority in terms of its health priorities, no funder will take it seriously because it's not one of the Government's targets."

King said there needed to be a long-term change of attitude and education, starting with parents.

"Their efforts are feeble, and they have had five years of almost no action in that space."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the Government had recently invested in new services to better support maternal and child nutrition and physical activity.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said an additional $35.5 million would be allocated to diabetes and heart disease in last week's Budget announcement.

"The new funding includes $15.9 million to further increase the number of people getting heart and diabetes checks," Ryall said in a statement.