Healthy Families NZ having a positive impact Thursday, 6 October 2016

Source: New Zealand Government, 6 October 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Healthy Families NZ is helping communities around the country to make healthy changes.

"Healthy Families NZ is about encouraging people to live healthier lives by making good food choices, being physically active, moderating alcohol consumption and being smoke-free," says Dr Coleman.

"The initiative challenges communities to think differently about how to address the underlying causes of poor health.

"It's about thinking bigger, driving innovation, and creating good health in the places where we spend our time - childcare centres, schools, workplaces, sporting clubs, marae and other community settings.

"As a result of the initiative, we're starting to see a number of positive changes happening in communities around the country."

In the Far North to mark Conservation Week last month the first Pipiwharauroa: Hikoi for Healthy Nature, Healthy People walk took place. A joint initiative between Ngai Takoto, Department of Conservation and Healthy Families Far North, the inaugural event encouraged the community to take advantage of the district's bush walks, and improve their physical and mental health wellbeing.

Healthy Families Rotorua have worked with the Rotorua Aquatics Centre, which has the biggest selling drinks vending machines in the Bay of Plenty, to remove four of its six machines with the remaining machines only stocking healthier options.

Healthy Families Manukau and Manurewa-Papakura have worked with Auckland Council to remove all sugar sweetened beverages from the Council's 16 vending machines at leisure sites across South Auckland.

Healthy Families East Cape is partnering with Citrus New Zealand to plant fruit trees in community areas in the region with the fruit to be made available for the local community to eat.

In the lower South Island, Healthy Families Invercargill has teamed up with a large retailer to trial a healthy barbeque guide. The guide is set to be rolled out nationally by the retailer once the trial is complete, and other companies are also interested in adopting it.

Healthy Families NZ is now operating in ten locations across the country, and has the potential to impact the lives of around one million New Zealanders.

It is one of the 22 initiatives in the Childhood Obesity Plan which the Government launched last year. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.

Further information about Healthy Families NZ can be found on their website,www.healthyfamilies.govt.nz.