12 Nov 2014

Obesity to become biggest health risk

8:32 pm on 12 November 2014

Obesity will overtake tobacco as the leading risk to health in New Zealand within two years, the Health Ministry says.

The burden of type two diabetes is highlighted in a ministry briefing to the incoming minister, Jonathan Coleman, released today.

It said a third of all illness, disability and premature death was associated with factors which could be changed through prevention and treatment.

By 2016, obesity is expected to overtake tobacco as the leading risk to health.

Officials also said type two diabetes was the only chronic disease projected to increase in both incidence and prevalence, as people lived longer.

A wide range of programmes were being implemented to address such challenges, the paper said.

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