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Thursday, 21 March 2019 09:16 am

Obesity trial to spend $3 million through Lower Hutt agencies

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A MULTI-MILLION dollar anti-obesity trial is to be centred on Lower Hutt families.

Hutt City Council has been selected to lead the Healthy Families New Zealand initiative which will begin in October.

A team of people working with schools, early childhood education centres, workplaces and sports clubs to encourage and support people to make healthy lifestyle choices.

The council was selected through a competitive process and will bring together a partnership of community leaders and recruit a dedicated health promotion workforce.

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Te Awakairangi Health Network is one of the associates signed up to for Healthy Families New Zealand

Already signed up to help are many local health organisations including Te Awakairangi Health and Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui.

Kara Puketapu, chief executive of Te Runanganui o Taranaki Whanui says he thinks the plan to start Healthy Families New Zealand in Lower Hutt will be a good investment.

“We need to invest in the future, and Maori are ready,” he says.

Mr Puketapu says Hutt City needs to ensure Maori families are cared for, because they make up 20% of Hutt City’s population.

Also on board is Te Awakairangi Health Network in Lower Hutt and team leader Tanya Radford says they are all really excited about this opportunity and cannot wait for it to be underway.

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“The project is still in the development stage, so we still have to employ the five staff who will be on our team and work with the community and the Ministry of Health to shape up that plan,” says Miss Radford.

A media release from National MP Chris Bishop (right) says Healthy Families New Zealand is based on one of the few anti-obesity programmes that have actually worked in Australia – The Healthy Together Victoria Programme.

Mr Bishop says encouraging individuals and their families to live healthy, active lives is part of the government’s plan to reduce chronic disease and obesity in New Zealand.

“Healthy Families New Zealand is an exciting initiative which I believe will greatly benefit the community,” he says.

Marcus Sherwood, divisional manager for Leisure Active says Lower Hutt has some of the most vulnerable communities in New Zealand.

“By working closely with them on this project we can change their communities for the better,” Mr Sherwood says.

More information about Healthy Families New Zealand can be found here.

 

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