The Childhood Obesity Plan, launched in October 2015, provides targeted interventions for those who are obese, increased support for those at risk of becoming obese and broad approaches to make healthier choices easier for all New Zealanders.
The Plan brings together initiatives across government agencies, the private sector, communities, schools, families and whānau. It includes improved public information and resources; initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity and making healthy food choices, actions for the health sector, and the food and beverage industry.
Food and beverage industry pledge
Representatives from a range of groups and organisations in the food and beverage industry committed in principle to a pledge to help reduce childhood obesity at a forum on 20 October 2016.
Forum attendees included representatives from the Food and Grocery Council, NZ Beverage Council, Countdown, McDonalds, Retail NZ, Fonterra, Heart Foundation, Frucor, Nestle, Foodstuffs NZ, Restaurant Brands, ANZA and Antares Restaurant Group.
Some groups and organisations have already made specific pledges to make reformulation, advertising and labelling changes and we expect others to develop similar pledges.
The food and beverage industry will report back to the Ministry of Health on specific changes they will make next year.
Advertising Standards Authority review
The Advertising Standards Authority’s review of the Children’s Code for Advertising Food and the Code for Advertising to Children was released on 20 October 2016.
The major code change is an explicit restriction on advertising occasional food and beverage products to children. Whether the advertisement is to children will be based on an assessment of the product, the style of advertising and the likely audience.
The changes also include a special care for young people aged 14 to 18 years, which was previously included in the Code for Advertising Food to Adults.
Childhood Obesity Plan achievements to date
- DHBs are developing plans to ensure the ‘Raising healthy kids’ health target introduced on 1 July, will ensure four year olds identified as obese (while getting their B4 School Check) are offered a referral to the services, they and their family, need to support healthy eating and activity
- The Education Review Office is finalising a report on the current status of food, nutrition and physical activity in schools and early learning services
- The Plan includes a target of signing up 150 new decile 1 – 4 primary and intermediate schools, and those with high Māori, Pasifika or vulnerable groups over the next two years. To date, 219 new decile 1–4 primary and intermediate schools, and those with high Māori, Pasifika or vulnerable groups have signed up, 46 per cent above the target
- 34 schools in Upper Hutt and Waitakere are piloting Sport New Zealand’s Play.Sport initiative
- Healthy Families NZ is operating in ten locations across the country resulting in many positive changes happening in communities around the country with support from local government and the private sector
- The Ministry of Health has released new Eating and Activity Guidelines for Adults, guidance for healthy weight gain in pregnancy and guidance on gestational diabetes to support health professionals and the public to make healthier choices
- All DHBs have become sugar-sweetened beverage free and are working toward implementing Healthy Food and Drink Policies
- The Ministries of Education and Health are working together to encourage schools to become water and milk only
- Some councils are removing sugar-sweetened beverages from their facilities
- The Health Star Rating continues to expand and is now on more than 2,000 products
- A public awareness campaign that ran last year focussed on getting people talking about the impact lifestyle choices have on children’s health. Families were encouraged to make small changes to improve their diet and be more active
- The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling. The Focus prize for the 2016 awards celebrated a focus on collaboration along the whole education pathway to improve health, wellbeing, and learning success for every child and young person.
Find out more about the Childhood Obesity Plan