6 Nov 2013

Minister examines Australian anti-obesity bid

11:21 am on 6 November 2013

Health Minister Tony Ryall is visiting Australia to study a programme that may be introduced in this country to help reduce obesity.

Mr Ryall will spend two days visiting communities in the state of Victoria which have adopted the Healthy Together Victoria programme.

The programme in schools and workplaces works to encourage healthy eating, more exercise, and less smoking and alcohol use.

Mr Ryall says New Zealand has initiatives to combat obesity, with a focus on improving newborn and maternal nutrition, and the Victoria programme could be a next step.

A medical professor specialising in obesity, Boyd Swinburn, says the Australian programme is the world leader and New Zealand urgently needs that approach.

The Fight the Obesity Epidemic group agrees but adds tougher measures, including regulations, will eventually also be needed.