Government plan to address childhood obesity

19 October 2015

The Government has launched a package of initiatives designed to tackle childhood obesity.


Ten per cent of all New Zealand children (aged 2-14) are classified as obese, with a further 25 per cent being overweight (NZ National Health Survey 2013/14).


The Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman, says the new plan targets children for good reason. 


“Our plan focuses on children as that’s where the evidence shows we can have the greatest influence. By focusing on children we expect to also influence the whole family.”


The 22 initiatives in the plan are a mix of new services and an expansion of existing services.  They centre around three key themes:  

• Targeted interventions for those who are obese
• Increased support for those at risk of becoming obese
• Broad strategies to make healthier choices easier


As part of the plan, a new childhood obesity health target will be introduced which aims to see 95 per cent of all children identified as obese at the B4 School Check referred to a health professional for clinical assessment and intervention.


The Healthy Start Workforce Programme welcomes any focus on obesity prevention in childhood. 


One of the project’s key aims is to educate health professionals about the influence nutrition can have during pregnancy and infancy in setting patterns for lifelong health.


The Healthy Start Education Programme provides details about the impact of nutrition on genes, growth and development and the risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as obesity.  While, the Healthy Conversation Skills training gives health professionals the skills they need to work with clients who are obese to make real and long-lasting lifestyle changes.


Further information about the Childhood Obesity Plan can be found on the Ministry of Health website.


Related Documents
• Additional info on package initiatives (pdf 526.14 KB)