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Speaker: Are there opportunities within the Government’s childhood obesity plan?

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  • Angela Hart,

    The question is, does the Government have a genuine will to make the best possible decisions for the people of Aotearoa?
    Actions speak louder than words and actions taken so far on many fronts simply don't match the spin. Government behaviour indicates that actions taken are directed by two drivers, being party ideology and what is best politically for the current crew. If making good decisions for the whole country was top priority we'd have good government, and we wouldn't have attempts like this one to convince the public that the Government is doing something worthwhile to tackle a problem when it really isn't.
    I'm also not convinced that the side effects of this particular scheme will be helpful. Officially labelling the fat kids, for instance.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Diet is now the leading cause of ill-health in New Zealand, and has overtaken tobacco. It deserves a response at least as strong as tobacco (which has actually been very weakly regulated considering how toxic it is).

    The large majority of this "plan" (there is little supporting documentation) is in fact education of children. We know that education is a weak mechanism of behaviour change, particularly when it is not supported with other interventions.

    However, the plan sidesteps the issue as deftly as Julian Savea, by narrowing obesity as a social problem to children. Obesity in children is highly problematic, and deserves a response. But most obesity is in adults, and most weight gain occurs during adulthood, and the risks associated with it increase proportionately. This is a continued process and does not stop with age. The MOH knows this and has very good data in Understanding Excess Body Weight: New Zealand Health Survey, but the plan ignores this entirely.

    It's easy to say that children are ignorant and will do better with education and information. But when confronted by supposedly rational decision-making adults, this becomes more difficult.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Josie McNaught,

    I've been back at Uni the last 2 years - and the students just get bigger (and more by the year. If you can get them young and sort them out do! By 18/19/20 it's almost too late. The institutions are churning smart people but they sell the dumbest food. You can buy high sugar drinks by the truckload. Had a late night finishing an essay? Grab a bottle of V and slug it down before a lecture. Then I watch students jiggling and wriggling for the first hour of a lecture followed by the inevitable sugar let down body flop in the next. They use lifts and escalators instead of stairs and gobble down chips and chocolate from vending machines. Some of them are so ignorant about food and what it does to them, I despair. One tubby girl told me - without a trace of irony - that water breaks down fat particles so she buys bottles of the stuff and glugs away all day. Another male student says he doesn't eat meat because it's full of hormones! Go figure.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    On the education thing, I worked part time as a cashier in a grocery store in the states in the 70s. The best education I ever got on healthy eating was having to study what people using food stamps (now the program is called SNAP) could and could not purchase with those coupons. Not sure how restrictive it is these days but it was a massive eye opener for me then.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Blaming children and their mothers isn't an effective strategy.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Blaming children and their mothers isn't an effective strategy.

    Hah! My daughter was less than a week old when I took her into the geriatric hospital where I worked until a week before she was born. A well covered and fully breastfed child. The bollocking I got from the charge nurse for having an obese baby...I'll never forget it.

    A neighbour spends six months of each year in the US. He reckons the most depressing sights are at the fast food joints where the doors have all been widened to allow admittance to the oversize mobility scooters driven by the morbidly obese.
    The scooters have big trays to hold the food, and cup holders for the buckets of fizzy drink.

    Tax sugary processed foods. Decrease GST on fresh fruit and veg. And fresh meat.

    Interesting that this project...http://www.healthystartworkforce.auckland.ac.nz/en.html

    is not only going encourage healthy eating during pregnancy....but also supply the mums to be with pro- biotic capsules....???

    Now, this is new. And 'alternative'. So what has changed in our guts, in our diets, that the medicos decide that taking probiotics is going to help turn the obesity tide?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    A well covered and fully breastfed child. The bollocking I got from the charge nurse for having an obese baby…I’ll never forget it.

    I don't believe it's possible to have an obese and fully breastfed baby, that charge nurse had to've been on the wrong track there.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Now, this is new. And 'alternative'.

    Surprisingly mainstream science. Implications won't be so popular with 'food' industry or environmental poisoners.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Angela Hart,

    I don’t believe it’s possible to have an obese and fully breastfed baby,

    To be fair....she(the nurse!) was a very tall, very thin person, who had read about 'brown' fat cells and was convinced that my wee mite was loaded with them. Lurking there they were, ready to turn into hard, immovable adiposity. I was, for want of a better expression...a damn fine cow. I should have bottled and sold the stuff I produced. My babies thrived. As they are supposed to. Hmmm....see, I didn't take it to heart at all!

    It hurts when a person is criticised for their weight...cue eating disorders on either end of the scale.

    Another 'education' aspect...we should be teaching people to cook. Cheap, quick meals. Tasty. Because taste should be what it is about. Give people well cooked, tasty, fresh food and they'll wonder why they ever stomached that crap from You Know Where...who will remain un-named because they'll read this and sue my ass!

    Honestly...I walked past one of those places the other day...the smell was atrocious!

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Another ‘education’ aspect…we should be teaching people to cook.

    So true – not only is the food healthier but so much cheaper. I look at all those bottles of pre-made pasta sauce and wonder why anyone would pay what amounts to 4x the price of the simple set of ingredients.

    My sister visited from the US last summer. She mentioned that one of her son’s favourite home cooked meals was macaroni cheese. I said the same was true for our boys and that I’d make mine and we could compare recipes. She said, “you make yours from scratch”? And I thought to myself, how the world had changed such that a kids favourite memory of “home cooking” could be something that came out of a cardboard box.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Yep. The other day, I got one of the Young People to fry up some onions, chuck in garlic, salt and pepper and a tin of cheap chopped peeled tomatoes. "Boil the shit out of it" I instructed (the yoof terminology for 'reduce') and add a bit of vinegar.

    Yum.

    I can just hear your sister say "you make yours from scratch?"...does she have the accent?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    …does she have the accent?

    Indeed she does - but so do I (the US is where I grew up). Perhaps moving to NZ was my saving grace - as we just didn't have the same degree of pre-made/packaged stuff as early on as they did in the US.

    Must add a bit of vinegar next time (usually put in a TBL of worchestshire instead).. and a bay leaf :-).

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Yeah. I was with Rosemary right up to the "vinegar", and thought to myself, "No, not vinegar - Worcestershire source !".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Don’t forget to add a little red wine.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Just deleted a spammy comment above. Sorry it took a little while, been busy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Ackshully....I said..."a bit of balsamic vinegar." YP replied, in that 'orrible whiny tone..."Uh, there isn't any in here". "What is there then?" sez moi, "Uh, red wine vinegar." That'll do.

    (There was balsamic in the pantry. Right by the RW Vinegar.)

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    The battle our government isn’t prepared to take on;

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/nov/03/obese-soda-sugar-tax-mexico

    Babies in strollers suck on bottles filled with orange soda.

    How many of us have seen this here – and said nothing? I know I have and every time I turn a blind eye I feel quite sick about it;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/8199941/Dismay-at-tooth-decay-in-Kiwi-kids

    34,000 children under 14 had teeth removed due to decay or infection in 2012. Dental surgery services are so stretched, there are reports of waiting lists of up to 100 children at some hospitals.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Just called in at our local country gas station. Usually a fairly sparse shop area...but today....one could barely move for pallets (and I mean the wooden ones) full of soft drinks, energy drinks and a few token stands of bottled water (all quite heavily discounted). I mean shit loads of sugary crap, right where you'd have to step around to get to the milk fridge.

    "Doing your bit for the obesity epidemic," I said, in what I thought was my schoolmarm voice. Big laughs, lots of involuntary hand rubbing in anticipation of the big sales to come.

    The local school...a five minute walk away, is largely Maori. Do you think I should give them a ring and ask them how they feel about it?

    In the other direction from us is another school whose pupils are mostly from the Mormom Church. Clean living Osmond types, you'd think? Turns out, they have some of the worst teeth in the area. Tea, coffee and alcohol might be sinful...but the sugary drinks and doughnuts are all good. Hallelujah!

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    “Doing your bit for the obesity epidemic,” I said

    We should all be so assertive. There really is no excuse for it in a country where potable drinking water standards are some of the best in the world; milk products are our main export earner; and locally grown fruit for natural juices is also in abundance. Taxing the fizzy ones heavily (and I mean heavily, putting them out of reach, particularly for low income families) and using that tax to subsidise milk and juice prices (our local grower industries) would be an entirely acceptable solution to me.

    Who could complain about a taxation initiative that aims to feed our kids real food, as opposed to empty calories?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Who could complain about a taxation initiative that aims to feed our kids real food, as opposed to empty calories?

    National's business supporters/donors

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    How many of us have seen this here – and said nothing?

    Never. I've never seen it. However, it seems I spend rather less time than the rest of you do staring at fat people and judging them, because I have better things to do with my life.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Danielle,

    I can assure you that the baby I spoke of was not fat - and frankly, I can't even remember the adults looking after him/her.

    As an aside, it does seem to me that you do spend a bit of time judging folks in this online forum, though.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Here's what I'm saying: accosting parents or fat people or fat parents or chip-eating students or people at the dairy or whoeverthefuck about their choices is probably the LEAST helpful thing anyone can do.

    (I barely post here anymore, compared to previously, so take from that what you will about my opinions of the tenor of discussions lately.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Fruit juice is not a healthy option. It's a sugar-hit not much better than fizzy drinks. Better to consume whole fruit, where the fibre means the sugar is more gradually absorbed, and it's harder to over-consume.

    Also, check the label on what you think is fruit juice. Often "fruit drink" has not much real juice and loads of added sugar. Flavoured milk drinks can have massive amounts of sugar also.

    I try to carry my own container of tapwater when I go out.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    When we are not here on the wrong side of the River in the Waikato, we are often in the Far North.

    We are equally at home in both regions.

    And, we do make an effort to engage with those around us.

    And we do observe. Not in a judgmental or pervey way...but observe we do.

    No apologies for that.

    Anyway, both of our primary stomping grounds are fairly low socio economic and predominantly Maori.

    Both groups feature in stats regarding obesity, diabetes and poor dental health.

    What to do?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11539761

    We know two young Maori men. Both grossly obese. One with diabetes and seriously badly ulcerated legs, the other works fulltime in an outdoor job....and wheezes like a ward of consumptives.

    Both of them have always a big bottle of fizzy at hand.

    Both are lovely young men, with families and friends. But they are slowly killing themselves.

    This breaks my heart.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

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