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ISSUES

Some of the issues FOE sees as crucial to an effective obesity prevention strategy in New Zealand are:

 

Stopping junk food advertising to children on TV

Advertising ‘junk food’ on TV contributes to obesity in children. Health professionals and the public want to see such advertising banned, but the food and advertising industries do not.

 A food labelling system for New Zealand

A simple food labelling system would make it easy for busy shoppers to distinguish more healthy from less healthy food. The best option is the health star rating system developed in Australia, and now being adopted in New Zealand. With Australia adopting the star system, alternatives such as traffic lights are now not practically or politically feasible.

Inquiries and legislation

Health Select Committee Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

The Health Committee of the New Zealand Parliament considered submissions on obesity prevention in 2006. The Committee’s 2007 report sets out principles for an effective strategy to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. It must not be left to gather dust.

Progress with the Public Health Bill

The Public Health Bill was carried over to new Parliament and still awaits its second reading. Before the election, National was opposed to having power in the Bill to make regulations that could be used to address obesity. We expect that National will use its numbers to remove this power.

FOE believes that removing this regulation-making power from the Bill would be a big step backward for obesity prevention.