Join the panel!


7 wasted years?

8 Sep 15

7 wasted years?
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman

While 1 in 10 of our school pupils is obese and 1 in 5 is over weight, 4 out of 10 schools are not running a healthy food programme.

The New Zealand Herald has run these reactions to a HorizonPoll finding nearly 8 out of 10 adults think schools should have a heathy eating programme:

New Zealand Principals' Federation president Denise Torrey said that figure was disappointing, but policies aimed at schools could only go so far.

"We can educate students. But obesity doesn't start at school. Families - and legislators - have to do their bit as well," she said. "We are happy to do our part, but schools are not here to solve all social problems. When it comes to food, we don't have any choice about what parents buy. Are they going to legislate around that as well?"

Labour health spokeswoman Annette King said she would now expect the Government to bring back tuck shop regulation.

"It's horrifying to New Zealanders that we are now considered one of the fattest nations in the world," she said.

"We have wasted seven years, when we could have been doing something about it, for purely political reasons, because apparently saying what kids could eat was being a 'nanny state'. I now look forward to seeing what the minister will do."

Health minister Jonathan Coleman said New Zealand was not unique in its battle with obesity and there was no single solution.

It already had several actions under way, including KiwiSport, green prescriptions, and fruit in schools.

"I have officials from Health and Sport looking at additional measures," Dr Coleman said. "No decisions have been made on what shape or form any interventions will take."

The Herald publishes an example of a programme at Rhode Street School, Hamilton, where healthy food programme has not only seen the pupils eating better, but growing food and losing weight.

You're welcome to be heard further on our Facebook page.