17 Jul 2009

Govt steadfast on cuts to nutrition programmes

10:58 am on 17 July 2009

The Government is standing behind a decision to cut funding for nutrition programmes, despite a report which claims New Zealand has the third worst obesity rates in the developed world.

The Health Data Report, issued earlier this week by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, shows 26.5% of New Zealanders are obese.

Wellington Hospital endocrinologist Robyn Toomath questions the Government's decision to cut funding for nutrition programmes, particularly a requirement for school tuck shops to serve healthy food.

But Health Minister Tony Ryall says it's not for the Government to deside what children eat in schools: parents must take control.

He says activity must form the basis of healthy living.

Mr Ryall says the Government wants to transfer some of the money spent on nutrition programmes to activity-based schemes, which he says is a more balanced approach.