Government strategies for diabetes and childhood obesity encouraging

October 21, 2015, University of Otago

The University of Otago's Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR) welcomes two highly important health strategies targeting childhood obesity and diabetes that the government has launched in recent days.

"These government plans acknowledge the principle that a two-pronged approach is necessary when dealing with diseases that have reached epidemic proportions, as is the case with and diabetes," says EDOR Director Professor Jim Mann.

"An effective strategy must target both the individuals who have already developed the disease, or are at high risk of doing so, as well as implement preventative measures in the population at large."

The new diabetes and obesity strategies provide treatment avenues for individuals, including .

EDOR researcher Associate Professor Rachael Taylor says the potential treatment options should benefit the large number of children identified as obese via the Before School Check, and fit nicely with the broader–brush Healthy Families initiative.

"A critical factor will be to ensure that the appropriate resources are available for effective implementation".

Other new initiatives that the researchers believe are important include additional resource and guidance for pregnant women, to ensure optimal health for them and their babies; as well as clear information for health professionals allowing them to more easily identify women with gestational diabetes.

Associate Professor Taylor has concerns that the population strategies for children in this initiative are predominantly based around .

"Increased physical activity on its own will not reverse the . However we know that improving the food environment is essential for reducing obesity in children" says Associate Professor Taylor.

"While there are some useful actions in the recently announced package, it could be argued that many of the nutrition strategies lack teeth.

"The government has been working with industry for many years around food marketing to children – but this is only ever at a voluntary level – where is the evidence that this has made a difference?"

She sees it as necessary to implement stricter control measures to prevent the continuing advertising of junk food to children, widely accepted as a pivotal component of improving the food environment.

However, Associate Professor Taylor applauds healthy eating policies being implemented in DHB's, such as not allowing sugary drinks to be sold on hospital premises, but believes such policy could have limited reach for children.

"Such policies will be far more effective in the school system – where children spend a lot of their time."

Explore further: Child care's role in fight against obesity

Related Stories

Child care's role in fight against obesity

October 9, 2015
Policy changes are needed to address childhood obesity in child care settings and help child care providers to reinforce healthy eating and physical activity, according to new research from the University of Connecticut.

Severely obese children may be at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes

September 30, 2015
More than 3 million children in the United States who are severely obese may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes than overweight children, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist ...

Public support for healthy food in schools

September 14, 2015
Strong public support for the Government to take a lead on healthy food in schools and childcare services is revealed in a recent poll.

Food insecurity linked to adolescent obesity, metabolic syndrome

September 2, 2015
New research indicates that household food insecurity dramatically increases the likelihood of metabolic diseases in children, with many showing chronic disease markers before they graduate from high school. The study published ...

Study from England shows no garden access for young children linked to childhood obesity later in childhood

September 15, 2015
A study of 6467 children from England—presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Stockholm—shows that no access to a garden at age 3-5 years is linked to an ...

Inactivity in childhood linked to poor health outcomes in adolescence

June 1, 2015
How active you are as a child could have an impact on your weight and risk of chronic disease from as early fifteen years of age, according to new research led by the University of Sydney.

Recommended for you

Study finds behavioral changes insufficient at preventing early childhood obesity

August 7, 2018
Young children and their families in poor communities were able to make some achievable and sustainable behavioral changes during the longest and largest obesity prevention intervention, but, in the end, the results were ...

Responsive parenting intervention results in lower BMIs through age three

August 7, 2018
An intervention designed to promote healthy growth, which taught first-time moms how to respond with age-appropriate responses to their babies' needs, resulted in children having lower body mass indexes (BMIs) when they were ...

Measure of belly fat in older adults is linked with cognitive impairment

August 1, 2018
A new study using data from over 5,000 individuals has found that a measure of belly fat (waist:hip ratio) was associated with reduced cognitive function in older Irish adults (>60 years of age). These findings have significant ...

How can you avoid regaining those lost kilos?

July 23, 2018
The hardest part about losing weight is maintaining it. Many people manage to lose weight, but in time the kilos can slowly come back.

Food for thought: How the brain reacts to food may be linked to overeating

July 19, 2018
The reason why some people find it so hard to resist finishing an entire bag of chips or bowl of candy may lie with how their brain responds to food rewards, leaving them more vulnerable to overeating.

Children are less likely to be obese if mothers stick to a healthy lifestyle

July 4, 2018
Children of mothers who follow a healthy lifestyle have a substantially lower risk of developing obesity than children of mothers who don't make healthy lifestyle choices, finds a study published in The BMJ.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.