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BMI is an indicator of the amount of fat in the body and is calculated by dividing the mass of a person by their height squared ( kg m 2 ).
In NZ the normal BMI range is 18.5–24.9 kg m 2 and when the BMI reaches 30 kg m 2 it is classified as obese.
However for people of Maori and Pacific origin , BMI of 32 or more is used to define obesity as research has shown that this slightly higher indicator of obesity is more accurate for people of these origins.
Also, the BMI cut-o f f points for children differ from adults, therefore when investigating child obesity, these BMI cut off points must be aged matched (Cole, 2002).
In 2003, 21 percent of adults were obese, an increase from 17 percent in 1997.
The results of the 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey (5-14 years of age) reported that 69% of New Zealand children were not considered overweight or obese while 21% were classified as overweight and 9.8% were obese. Therefore, nearly one third of New Zealand children are regarded as being overweight or obese.
Larger uniforms are being manufactured to fit ‘growing’ children, and an Auckland school outfitter says it is now making school shorts with a 140cm waist and size 15 shoes.
School uniform manufacturer Underwoods says the national average had jumped by about six sizes over 50 years as boys and girls get taller and fatter.
Nearly 11% of Pacific Island children are likely to be extremely obese.
Extreme obesity affects 1 in 10 Pacific Island children and 1 in 20 Maori children, compared to 1 in 100 New Zealand European/ other children.
To reduce obesity in school children of NZ by increasing their awareness of the risks attached with obesity and by increasing their knowledge on the programs that are available to help reduce obesity .
Obesity is one of the most significant yet changeable risk factors that contribute to various diseases that have a major impact on the well being of the society . S ome such diseases include type 2 diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease, ischaemic stroke and several types of cancers.
The NZ Health Strategy 2000 has three objectives which relate directly to obesity:
To improve nutrition
To increase physical activity
To reduce obesity
Healthy Eating - Healthy Action (HEHA) is the ministry of health's strategic approach to improve nutrition, increasing physical activity and achieving healthy weight for all New Zealanders. (SPARC are important partners in HEHA)
Improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and reducing obesity are three of the thirteen health priorities identified in the New Zealand Health Strategy.
Focuses on motivating healthy, optimistic attitudes towards physical activity, nutrition, community facilities, obesity and sources of health information.
Founded by SPARC (Sport & Recreation New Zealand), who are also responsible for other health-orientated programmes, such as Push Play and Active Movement, which are dedicated to physical activity to reduce the risks of weight gain and consequently, obesity.
Feeding our Futures is a part of Healthy Eating-Healthy Action (HEHA), an approach introduced by the the Ministry of Health to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and achieve healthy weight for all New Zealanders.
The main focus of Feeding our Futures is to assist parents and caregivers in providing healthy diets for kids.
Some tips by Feeding our Futures:
Have meals at the table- encourages the sharing of healthier, home made food.
Encourage children to help out in the kitchen- a good way to learn about food and to be able to differentiate between healthy and non healthy food.
Provide water or milk as first choice over sweetened drinks
Provide a variety of fruits and vegetables in their daily diets- this helps kids to do better at school.
Provide healthy, home made snacks over unhealthy ones.
Make sure at least half the plate is vegetables- provide vital nutrition to kids.
“ Push Play is a nationwide SPARC campaign to get more New Zealanders more active, more often” (SPARC, 2005).
This campaign is about getting people within our country to be active each day. If you’re an adult your aiming for 30 minutes a day and those between 5 and 18 should be aiming for 60 minutes a day (SPARC, 2005).
This campaign has been established to try and get everyone to be more active, and even if it means getting off the bus early to walk that extra little bit (SPARC, 2005).
This has also been established with everyone in mind, its aimed at working with people of all ages.
The Treaty of Waitangi is a very important part of New Zealand’s history, therefore it plays some role in terms of healthcare within or country.
The principle of Participation states “Maori have a right to participate in all aspects of government and society in the country” (Moon, 2007, pg91).
This helps to show that the principle of Participation shows that equality between everyone in the country is what’s aimed for, and that everyone within the country is entitled to fair treatment and equal services.
In relation to the health issue of obesity there is a framework that has been established to show the link between the relevance of the Treaty of Waitangi and reducing obesity.
The relevance of the Treaty is that it is an important part of this strategy, because it aims at reducing inequalities and providing equal support and awareness of this health issue which therefore incorporates the principle of Participation (Ministry of health, 2003).
The Healthy Eating- Healthy Action Framework has been established to try and improve nutrition, reduce obesity and improve physical activity (Ministry of Health, 2003).
The framework recognizes there are many influencing factors of obesity within individuals particular environments, so the framework is aiming to reduce the factors that may be the cause of the problem. For strengthening communities (Ministry of Health, 2003).
As a result of strengthening communities the framework hopes that this will make everyone aware of the problem so that support from each other can be provided (Ministry of Health, 2003).
Agencies for Nutrition Action. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://www.ana.org.nz/
Feeding OurFutures. (8 October 2007). Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://www.feedingourfutures.org.nz/index.html
Fight the Obesity Epidemic. (n.d.). In Obesity the Facts. Retrieved from http://www.foe.org.nz/facts2.html
Ministry of Health. (March 2003.) Healthy Eatining- Healthy Action Oranga Kai- Oranga Pumau: A Strategic Framework 2003. Retrieved from http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/f872666357c511eb4c25666d000c8888/a23e4a4ad00859d1cc256d4100122d3f?OpenDocument
Ministry of Health. (4 September 2007). In Fruits in Schools. Etrieved from http://www.moh.govt.nz/fruitinschools
Ministry of Health. (10 April 2008). In Health Targets. Retrieved May 20, 2008, from http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/healthtargets-developmentandmeasurement-quarterlyreports-nutrition
Moon, P. (2007). The Treaty of Waitangi: Principles and Practice. In D. Broom, B. Deed, K. Dew, M. Durie, J. Germov, A. Kirkman, et al., Health in the Context of Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 90-91). Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Oxford University press.
The Obesity Action Coalition. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2008, from http://www.obesityaction.org.nz/index.html
SPARC. 2005. Retrieved June 1 2008, from http://www.sparc.org.nz/pushplay/overview