$2.1m to support Raising Healthy Kids target

24 July 2017

The government is investing $2.1 million over two years to help support families support their children’s healthy growth and development.

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says the money will go to selected DHBs which are dealing with a higher number of obese children.

“Childhood obesity can have serious long-term effects on a person’s health and wellbeing as they age. As a result some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents,” he says.

Dr Coleman says the Childhood Obesity Plan centres on the Raising Healthy Kids health target which aims to refer 95 per cent of children identified as obese in a B4 School Check for a clinical assessment and family-based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.

“We’ve identified ten DHBs which have a higher proportion of children who are obese, and need some additional assistance to offer interventions and support to more families.

“These are often difficult conversations for health professionals to have with families, with many not realising their child’s weight is an issue.

“Key outcomes will include ensuring that families are aware of the small changes they can make which are known to have a hugely positive impact on a child’s health and development. These include the importance of healthy eating, being active, reducing screen time and getting enough quality sleep,” Dr Coleman says.

The $2.1 million will be shared between Northland, Waitemata, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Capital & Coast, Hutt, and Canterbury DHBs.

Dr Coleman says good progress is being made against the Raising Healthy Kids health target nationally, with 86 per cent of children identified as being obese being referred for further assessment in the last quarter.

“This means across the country in quarter three, caregivers of 1,886 four-year-olds identified as obese have been offered a referral to a health professional for a clinical assessment and for advice on nutrition, activity and lifestyle.”

Further information about the target and the plan is available on the Ministry’s website, http://www.health.govt.nz