Govt action needed to curb obesity

Last updated 05:00 24/02/2014
LOOMING CRISIS: The Government has to legislate against food manufacturers and supermarkets, writes Sue Pairaudeau.

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How can we tackle obesity in New Zealand? Our readers have been sharing their ideas and opinions. Sue Pairaudeau wants the Government to step up.

The Government is going to have to legislate against Fonterra, Coca-Cola, Heinz Wattie's, fast food chains, and Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarkets on behalf of New Zealanders - the looming health crisis should be enough reason.

People on high incomes can afford to pick and choose where they shop, but the majority of the population, the struggling middle and lower incomes and unemployed, will continue to buy food that is not actual food - high in sugar and low in nutrients/fibre, because it is cheaper.

Their medical needs will increase as a result.

All high-sugar foods should be taxed, starting with soft drinks and flavoured milk.

If a 20 per cent tax on sugary soft drinks would prevent 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diet-related cancers a year - that is huge.

Imagine if flavoured drinks and high-sugar fruit juices were included.

Basic fruit and vegetables should be GST-free, and schools should only be allowed to sell real food, with one hour compulsory physical activity every day, for every school year. Children, and their brains, suffer without nutrition.

We don't have governments in New Zealand that think particularly long-term, and if the Government does nothing, consider this: it is already at a point where it can only provide limited medical assistance for people who can't afford medical insurance cover.

What will happen to people who can't afford insurance and sit on waiting lists for years? They die.

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