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NZ: Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes – latest updates

The government has responded to the Health Select Committee report on the Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. It accepted 47 of the Committee’s 55 recommendations.

Government Response to the Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, November 2007

Read the Government’s response (PDF)

Read the government’s press release

Read more about what’s in the government’s response from NZPA.

Health Select Committee report, August 2007

The Health Select Committee released its report on the Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes on 30 August 2007.

Read the Health Select Committee Inquiry’s report

Read FOE’s media release about the report.

Read some of the media coverage generated by the report.

Report analyses the Health Select Inquiry submissions

A new report from FOE has found big business is opposed to the recommendations of New Zealand’s leading health professionals.

Read FOE’s analysis of all the submissions to the Health Select Committee Inquiry (PDF March 2007)

Read our media release about this analysis

The Inquiry

Parliament’s Health Select Committee Inquiry into Obesity received 313 written submissions with many people asking to be heard by the Committee.

The Committee started hearing evidence on 10 May 2006 and heard the last of its presentations from original submitters on 8 November 2006. On 14 March 2007 it heard from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, particularly about food labelling. On 7 March it heard again from the Ministry of Health.

The Committee has been discussing the Inquiry regularly since April 2007 and formed a subcommittee which met in June and July. It tabled its report in Parliament on 30 August 2007. The Government had three months to consider the report. It responded on 27 November 2007.

FOE’s submission to the Inquiry

Read FOE’s submission to the Inquiry (PDF April 2006) and our media release about our submission

Submission hearings

10 May 2006: The Inquiry began with a presentation from the Ministry of Health.

17 May: The Committee began hearing public submissions. It heard from FOE, the Obesity Action Coalition, the Advertising Standards Authority and the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

24 May: Yves Bur, the Vice President of the National Assembly of France, briefed the Committee on initiatives by the French government to reduce obesity. He was followed by The New Zealand Medical Association and the Public Health Association of New Zealand.

31 May: The Committee heard from Diabetes NZ and Dr Richard Stubbs.

14 June: The Foundation for Advertising Research was followed by Dr Nick Wilson.

21 June: The Committee heard from Professor Jim Mann.

28 June: Professor Janet Hoek and Professor Boyd Swinburn presented oral submissions.

12 July: The Committee travelled to Christchurch and heard from 17 individuals and organisations including Professor Don Beaven and the Canterbury District Health Board.

17 July: The Committee travelled to Palmerston North to hear from five health organisations.

19 July: The Cancer Society, Agencies for Nutrition Action and Physical Education NZ all presented oral submissions.

26 July: The Committee heard from 21 submitters, including the National Heart Foundation, the NZ Television Broadcasters Council and Auckland Regional Public Health.

2 August: The Committee was back in Wellington and heard six submissions, including Dr Tipene-Leach and Ngati and Healthy Team.

16 August: The Committee met in Hamilton and heard from 23 individuals and groups.

23 August: The Committee heard from advisers in Wellington. The session was not open to the public.

30 August: The hearing continued in Wellington with the NZ Society of Paediatric Surgeons, NZ Branch of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, SPARC, Sport Wellington Region and Hutt Valley District Health Board – Regional Public Health.

6 September: The Health Select Committee heard evidence from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Quigley and Watts Ltd, NZ Society of Anaesthetists and the Rotary Club of Wellington North.

13 September: Dr Robert Beaglehole, Robin and Jenny Hoare, He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme of the University of Otago, the Children’s Commissioner and the Beer, Wine and Spirits Council of New Zealand all presented oral submissions.

4 October: The Committee met in Auckland. It heard 16 presentations including Fonterra, Association of NZ Advertisers, Radio Broadcasters Assoc, Obesity Prevention in Communities research project, TaPasefika Health Trust, The NZ Nutrition Foundation, and the Eating Difficulties Education Network.

11 October: The Committee heard from The Paediatric Society of New Zealand, Staff of the School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dr Miles Williams, Dr Ailsa Goulding, Delys Mary Reed and the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board and Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Public Health Service.

17 October: The Committee hearing did not hear evidence on the 17th because the House was sitting in urgency.

25 October: The Committee is holding a closed session.

1 November: The Committee did not hear submissions this week.

8 November: The Committee held its final public presentations, hearing from The Food Industry Group, Cycling Advocates Network and BikeNZ, Public Health South and Southland Health Promotion in Schools Network, Push Play Southland, Otago & Southland Division of the Cancer Society of NZ, and Dr Bruce Ross.

14 March 2007: The Committee heard from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, particularly about food labelling.

7 March 2007: It heard again from the Ministry of Health.

Media coverage

Govt ‘heeds industry not medics’ on obesity

A new study says food producers and health professionals are poles apart over how to tackle New Zealand’s obesity problem.

Source: The Press / Stuff 30 March 2007

Turning off TV ‘not enough to fight obesity’

Paediatric Society spokesperson Professor Barry Taylor told the committee about a US study on the effects of television watching on obesity. He also called for a co-ordinated approach to interventions so that the initiatives undertaken were the ones that were proved to work.

Hawke’s Bay cardiologist Miles Williams spoke about the mixed messages children get when given unhealthy food after a sports fixture.

Source: Stuff, 11 Oct 2006

Oral Submission to Inquiry into Obesity, Diabetes

Read more: Press release, Paediatric Society of NZ, 11 Oct 2006

Obesity warnings an ‘excuse’ to diet

The Eating Difficulties Education Network warned the Committee that more girls are going on crash diets. They urged the Committee to recommend that schools and public health agencies stop using the term “obesity epidemic”.

Source: Dominion Post / Stuff, 7 Oct 2006

Expert urges stop signs on junk food

Dr Robert Beaglehole made firm recommendations to the Committee.

Source: Dominion Post, 14 Sep 2006

McDonalds and Coke before obesity inquiry

“Representatives of fast-food chain McDonalds and drink-manufacturer Coca Cola were today grilled by MPs investigating the country’s obesity epidemic.”
Source: NZPA / Stuff, 6 Sep 2006

MPs grill fast food giants

Front page story.

Source: Dominion Post, 7 Sep 2006

McDonalds urges MPs not to regulate in response to obesity

Source: RadioNZ news, 6 Sep 2006

Obesity – Bad News for Breathing!

Read more: Press release, Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand / Scoop, 16 Aug 2006

Living Streets Aotearoa

Living Streets Aotearoa also spoke to the Committee on 2 August.

Read their submission

Auckland Regional Public Health Service – Consuming Inequality: The Obesity Pandemic

“ARPHS believes that the solution to increasing levels of obesity in the population is in a broad range of initiatives that focus on making the healthier choice the easier choice.”

Read more: Medial release, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, 27 July 2006

School parking ban to fight obesity

Auckland Regional Public Health Service proposed a ban on parking near schools to encourage children to walk. It also proposed banning dairies and fast food outlets near schools.

Read more: NZ Herald, 29 July 2006

Taskforce wanted to tackle Diabetes

NZNO wants a national expert taskforce established to tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Read more: Press release, NZ Nurses Organisation / Scoop, 26 July 2006

Ad Industry Self regulation exposed as a sham

Women’s Action Health Trust talked to the Committee about “the inadequacy and hypocrisy of industry self regulation in ensuring compliance with the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes.”

Read more: Women’s Action Health Trust / Scoop, 26 July 2006

No case for banning TV fast food ads – broadcasters

TV broadcasters say that banning ads for unhealthy foods would have little impact on obesity.

Source: 26 July 2006

Breastfeeding Helps Fight Obesity

Read more: Press release, Le Leche League / Scoop, 26 July 2006

Obesity Select Committee Submission

Read more: Physical Education NZ press release, 21 July 2006

Call to cut GST on fruit, veges

Canterbury District Health Board is calling for an Obesity Taskforce to coordinate a national approach to obesity. It also wants measures to reduce the cost of unhealthy food.

Source: The Press, 17 July 2006

TV, junk food and the fat police

The Press has a feature article on the Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes and some of the issues and recommendations the Health Select Committee is hearing.

Source: The Press / Stuff, 13 July 2006

Weighing of pupils mooted

Professor Don Beaven recommended weighing children at school to identify and address obesity problems early.

Source: The Press / Stuff, 13 July 2006

Baby You Were Born To Breastfeed

Read more: Press release, Infant Feeding Assoc of NZ / Scoop, 12 July 2006

Magnitude & Cost Of Obesity May Have Been Underestimated

Professor Jim Mann spoke to the Committee on a variety of topics including an international study on cancer and obesity that will be published next year.

Source: Newswire, 21 June 2006

NZMA supports obesity campaign

Read more: Press release, NZ Medical Association, 31 May 2006

Diabetes New Zealand Calls for Stronger and More Direct Diabetes Policies

Diabetes New Zealand called for screening of all people at high risk of diabetes. They also want adequate diabetes treatment and well-funded prevention programmes.

Source: Media release, Diabetes NZ, 31 May 2006

Doctor urges surgery for super-obese

Surgeon Richard Stubbs told the Committee that stomach surgery is the only option to help “super-obese” people.

Source: Dominion Post, 1 June 2006 p. A2

Heart Foundation’s healthy tick campaign deserves big cross

Health groups say the Pick the Tick scheme has big drawbacks: it is voluntary and too complex. Would a traffic light system be better?

Read more: NZ Herald, 28 May 2006

French MP urges school vending machine ban

The visiting vice-president of the French parliament is encouraging New Zealand to follow his country’s example and ban food and drink vending machines from schools. He was speaking to the Health Select Committee.

The New Zealand Medical Association also spoke at the Inquiry and supports such a ban.

Source: Dominion Post / Stuff, 25 May 2006

French sugar tax fights obesity

A visiting French politician told the Committee that a sugar tax on “alcopop” drinks in France lead to a big fall in sales and that this shows regulating the sales of unhealthy food and drinks can be effective. He also spoke about other French initiaves to reduce obesity.

Read more: NZ Herald, 25 May 2006

PHA Urges Multi-Party Accord To Tackle Obesity

Public Health Association Director Dr Gay Keating has called on all parliamentary parties to work together to stem the obesity epidemic. This was part of her presentation to the Health Select Committee on the Inquiry into Obesity and Diabetes.

Read more: PHA media release / Scoop, 24 May 2006

Child weighing a bit heavy handed

The NZ Medical Council is not in favour of following the British example and weighing children. They also comment on vending machines in schools and want tighter controls on advertising unhealthy food.

Read more: NewsTalkZB, 24 May 2006

The Obesity Action Coalition presents its submission to the Inquiry

Weighty arguments as Parliament considers obesity

OAC, Advertising Standards Authority and the Food and Grocery Council presented oral submissions to the health select committee inquiry.

Source: NZPA / Stuff, 18 May 2006

National obesity directive wanted

A brief summary of presentations to the health select committee.

Read more: TVNZ, 17 May 2006

FOE submission calls for radical action on obesity

FOE’s press release has a summary of some of the points made in its submission and comments made at the Inquiry.

Read more: FOE media release, 17 May 2006

Read FOE’s submission (PDF)

Obesity and diabetes problem ‘profound’

The Dominion Post reports some of the questions and replies when the Ministry of Health appeared before the Committee on 10 May.

Source: Dominion Post / Stuff, 11 May 2006

Obesity-related illnesses ‘to worsen’

Read more: NZ Herald, 11 May 2006

No quick fix to obesity

The Ministry of Health said at the Inquiry that fixing New Zealand’s obesity problem will take decades.

According to NewsTalk ZB, Deputy Director of Public Health Don Mathieson said “Obesity is a profound problem for the country and one that will have significant impacts… cultural and lifestyle changes over the past two decades have contributed to the state of New Zealanders’ health and it will take the same amount of time to reverse the damage.”

Read more: NewsTalkZB, 10 May 2006

Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in NZ. Have your say. Make a submission

Read more: FOE news, 3 May 2006

Published on November 28, 2007 in New Zealand news,Obesity Inquiry