15 Sep 2011

Quarter of New Zealanders obese

9:26 pm on 15 September 2011

New health findings show New Zealand obesity rates have increased, with more than a quarter of the country now obese, up from about a fifth 12 years ago.

Researchers who conducted the Adult Nutrition Survey in 2008 and 2009 say this probably means people are exercising less than they did when the last survey was done in 1997.

Nearly 28% of men are now obese, up 10%, while the rate for women has risen 7% to the same total.

An Otago University professor of human nutrition and medicine, Jim Mann, consulted on the survey and says New Zealand is high up in the ranks globally, where obesity has reached a pandemic level.

Professor Mann says New Zealand needs to reintroduce an overarching strategy to deal with obesity, such as the Healthy Eating - Healthy Action strategy, which was not in place long enough to find out if it was working.

The survey was released on Thursday.