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NZ Health survey update: no decrease in adult obesity

Obesity researchers have commented on the recently released 2019/2020 NZ Health Survey, which shows that adult obesity rates have increased over the last eight years for adults aged 45-64 years.  Marked ethnic & socioeconomic inequalities are also evident, with Pacific and Māori adults being 2.3 and 1.8 times as likely to be obese as non-Pacific and non-Māori adults, respectively.

Professor Boyd Swinburn, a member of the EDOR advisory board, says more policy action is needed to reduce the continuing health inequities.

"If we aspire to be the best country in the world to be a child, then why are we so afraid to control the harmful products that are creating one third of our health problems? Children need healthy environments to grow up in and thrive", says Professor Swinburn.

Dr Lisa Te Morenga, an EDOR researcher based at Victoria University of Wellington, supports the view that government action is needed:

"Efforts to reduce health inequities in Aotearoa New Zealand will be futile if serious policy action is not taken to support people to eat well. We urgently need healthy food policies in schools, limits on marketing of junk foods to children and their families, and health levies on the manufacturers of unhealthy food and drinks", says Dr Te Morenga.

Read the health survey

Annual Update of Key Results 2019/20: New Zealand Health Survey, MOH website, 19 November, 2020

Further information

No Progress On Reducing Inequities From Harmful Products: Latest Health Survey, Scoop, 25 November, 2020