26 May 2009

Anti-obesity group angered at funding withdrawal

12:31 pm on 26 May 2009

An anti-obesity group is lashing out at the government's decision not to renew its funding.

The Health Ministry's contract with the Obesity Action Coalition, which is solely funded by the Government, will cease at the end of June and the money will be given to school and club sports programmes instead.

The coalition was set up six years ago by the previous Labour government as an advocacy body to try to combat the condition, which affects nearly 10% of children and more than 20% of adults.

Executive director Leigh Sturgiss says there will be no national voice to speak out against junk food advertising, or to encourage physical activity and better nutrition, and she expects there will be a rise in the number of obesity over the next decade.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the resources are needed for school based physical activity programmes.

Mr Ryall says getting children more active will make a much bigger difference than the work of an advocacy group.