The Obesity Problem

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From The Marlborough Express…..

Health providers and community groups in Marlborough and Nelson must form an alliance to tackle obesity in the region, says the head of a sports trust.

Sport Tasman chief executive Nigel Muir said more work was needed to get people exercising and eating healthily. He called for continued support from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board despite funding for a nutrition and physical activity programme, which started five years ago, ending last month.

Mr Muir was speaking at a health committee meeting in Blenheim last week when he called for the board to lead a “propaganda war” against the district’s obesity problems.

Community-based service director Peter Burton said the board would continue to endorse healthy living through the Public Health Service. However, the economic climate was different to that of five years ago, he said.

Mr Muir warned one in two New Zealanders would be obese by 2024. In 2009, it was one in four, he said.

In Nelson-Marlborough, there was a disconnect with reality with people claiming to get enough exercise, he said.

“The people in this room know that is not the case.”

Gym costs, lack of equipment and lack of a partner stop people from exercising, he said.

“We have to find a way to remove these barriers for people,” Mr Muir said.

Chief executive John Peters said the health board would support Sport Tasman and community groups to tackle obesity but within its existing resources.

Acting committee chairman John Moore questioned the board’s funding priorities.

“We spend $40 million a year on pills no problem but can’t find $1m a year for this.”

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