Media Releases

Weight management guidance for kids

Friday, December 16, 2016 - 00:00

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the updated guidance on weight management for children and young people released today highlights the importance of sleep and the ongoing need to monitor children’s growth.

“The guidance sets an expectation for primary care to be regularly monitoring height, weight and growth for all children and young people,” says Dr Coleman.

“This is the first time we are formally recognising the importance of quality sleep for children and young people as an aspect of weight management.

“We know that quality sleep is also associated with better emotional development and academic achievement. Although the majority of children and young people get the recommended amount of sleep, we know that up to one in three toddlers and one in five teenagers don’t.

“With a focus on prevention, primary care practitioners are also encouraged to provide support when a child or young person is trending towards excess weight rather than waiting for them to become obese before intervening.

“The guidance will help to further standardise the advice being given to families. It will also support primary care practitioners to have constructive conversations with parents to help them ensure their children are healthy.

“Updating these guidelines is one of the 22 initiatives in the Childhood Obesity Plan launched by the Government in October 2015.

“At the core of the Plan is the new Raising Healthy Kids health target. New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.”

The Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand Children and Young People is available on the Ministry of Health website here. Tips for improving sleep, healthy eating and being active, and more information about the Childhood Obesity Plan is available here