Healthy Families NZ

Healthy Families NZ is large scale initiative which aims to improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play, for the prevention of chronic disease.

Healthy Families NZ brings community leadership together in a united effort for better health, aiming to improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play by taking a dynamic systems approach to preventing chronic disease.

The Healthy Families NZ teams work collaboratively with local leaders and organisations to identify, design and implement changes to help people make healthier choices and live healthier lives. These environments include (but are not limited to):

  • early childhood education settings
  • schools
  • workplaces
  • food outlets
  • sports clubs
  • marae
  • businesses
  • places of worship
  • local governments and more.

Healthy Families NZ builds on existing action underway in the community to create an integrated, community-wide “prevention system” for good health. The focus issue areas include increased physical activity, improved nutrition, more people smokefree and reduced alcohol-related harm.

A unique approach

Healthy Families NZ focuses on the prevention of chronic disease through reducing risk factors for major health loss and inequity. This is by utilising a systems change approach to ensure New Zealanders enjoy health-promoting social and physical environments that enable healthy food and physical activity choices.

The unique approach:

  • focuses on multiple risk factors for chronic disease
  • takes a placed-based, whole-of-community approach, enabling initiatives to be driven by local leadership and responsive to the local context
  • reflects and aligns with international best practice evidence
  • supports a comprehensive and coordinated approach to chronic disease prevention through locally-driven action in settings that are sustained over the longer-term
  • utilises a te ao Māori lens with an explicit focus on equity that reflects the intent of improving Māori health, and reducing inequalities for groups at increased risk of chronic disease.

The importance of creating healthy environments across a range of settings is implicit in the design and delivery of Healthy Families NZ. Because Healthy Families NZ is about locally driven solutions to local needs, the kinds of initiatives delivered in each location will be different – find out more about each location via their website below.

Healthy Families NZ locations

There are currently ten Healthy Families NZ locations, who are a range of locally based organisations leading Healthy Families NZ in their specific communities. These include iwi organisations, councils, Pacific led organisations, and regional sports trusts. These organisations are responsible for bringing together partnerships of key organisations and individuals who can influence transformational change in their communities.

A skilled prevention team is also established in each site to coordinate action and enable leadership that will drive the necessary changes to support good health.

The following locally-based providers were selected through a competitive tender process to lead Healthy Families NZ in their communities:

The ten Healthy Families NZ locations are geographically spread and come from areas with:

  • higher-than-average rates of preventable chronic diseases (such as diabetes)
  • higher-than-average rates of risk factors for these diseases (such as smoking), and/or
  • high levels of deprivation.

Collectively, they have  the potential to impact the lives of over a million New Zealanders, ensuring that Healthy Families NZ will be able to provide valuable evidence on what works for a diverse range of communities. 

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