Education and Full Disclosure Keys for Reducing Obesity

Media Release 20 Oct 2015
Family First NZ says that education for families around food quantities and quality, and full and accurate disclosure of sugar and fat content by food manfacturers are the keys to reducing obesity levels in New Zealand.

“Families and especially parents should be given clear information of just how much sugar and fat is contained in foods – but especially drinks and foods which may have deceptive labels such as ‘energy’, ‘juiced’ and fruit names which suggest a healthy aspect. Many parents simply aren’t aware of just how much sugar is contained in standard drinks, what is a healthy daily quota of sugar, and just how much damage excess sugar intake does – until it’s too late,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director.

“A tax on sugar would simply penalise poorer families who will find it difficult to avoid the increased costs. A tax on tobacco works because smoking is an option, while food consumption is integrated in to our everyday living.”

“Family First supports the approach suggested by Starship hospital paediatrician Dr Patrick Kelly whereby families receive the education and support required and intervention is used as an absolute last resource where the obesity is part of an extended package of neglect and abuse happening within the family. Compulsory attendance at courses may be required to get some parents to take action,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The best solution is for non-governmental organisations to be resourced and equipped to work with families in the home and in the community and churches.”

“We should also be asking some of the harder questions around reasons for increasing obesity rates in New Zealand. These include issues such as reduced physical activity and increased screentime, sleep patterns, food quality especially in cheaper foods which are used as loss-leaders by supermarkets, busy parents, and ‘obesogenic environments’ – ‘fat cities’ with few parks and recreational facilities,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Let’s work with families – and families will be empowered with education and factual information.”

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