The future of obesity and diabetes control in New Zealand will be uncertain for quite some time, as measures to tackle the problem begin to take affect, an inquiry was told yesterday. Brining the problem under control could take up to 20 years, the director general of public health told health committee MPs. It would have to involve all New Zealanders working together to combat the problem, he said.
The inquiry was called to assess the causes, impacts and solution to type 2 diabetes and obesity in the country. Problems, the DG said, lay in weak evidence. Although obesity levels have risen sharply in the country (due to changing diet and exercise patterns), exact numbers are uncertain.
Other MPs echoed the voice of uncertainty, and called the problem both urgent and enormous. Obesity is expensive to treat, and rife in New Zealand. Maori and Pacific Islanders are particularly vulnerable to the disease, and it is thought that ten per cent of Kiwi children are now obese .
Some good suggestions came from the meeting, with culturally appropriate methods suggested by Maori Party leaders, and a caution against the advertising of unhealthy foods to children from a Green party MP.

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