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FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic) is a charitable trust working to stop and reverse the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in New Zealand.

Our vision is a New Zealand where once again type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases are unknown among children and adolescents. To achieve this, we strongly believe we have to change our obesity-promoting environment.

In 2001 we started out as a voluntary society, then in June 2007 became The FOE New Zealand Trust.

Preventing obesity in children – our priorities

There are lots of ways to help prevent obesity. Our priorities are:

  • Stopping the promotion of unhealthy food to children
  • Having labels on food packaging, such as a traffic light system, so that shoppers can easily identify healthy and unhealthy foods
  • Introducing tax changes and/or subsidies to make healthy food more affordable relative to less healthy food.

Getting our message across

FOE raises awareness about obesity and its prevention by:

  • Seeking and accepting opportunities to promote messages about obesity prevention in the media
  • Publishing reports and publicising their findings
  • Producing an on-line newsletter (Obesity News) about current developments and initiatives both in New Zealand and elsewhere
  • Making submissions on issues relating to obesity prevention such as the Public Health Bill, the Health Select Committee Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, and the review of advertising codes
  • Maintaining a website to provide up-to-date information about issues and developments relating to obesity prevention.

Why we need to change our obesity-promoting environment

Obesity is a normal response to an abnormal environment. Food high in energy and low in nutrients is more available, relatively cheap and heavily marketed. And while we take in more calories, we expend less energy because we are less active in our daily lives.

Strategies based on changing individual behaviour through education and information provision will not be successful. Reliance on people’s willpower to eat less and exercise more is not the answer.

We believe that our vision can only be realised by changing the current “obesogenic” environment. Healthy choices need to be the easy or default choices.