Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a set of indicators will be published annually to help monitor the progress being made to reduce childhood obesity in New Zealand.
“Obesity is a serious issue threatening the health of young New Zealanders, which means some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents,” says Dr Coleman.
“In 2014/15 11 per cent of all children aged 2-14 years were obese. The figures for Maori and Pacific children were 15 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
“In 2015 the Government launched the 22-point Childhood Obesity Plan, making New Zealand one of few countries to have a comprehensive plan and a health target.
“To help monitor progress of the Plan, today we have released a set of 15 indicators which will be reported on annually.
“The indicators have been chosen based on their relevance to childhood obesity and ability to be measured using existing data sources. They cover four key areas of a child’s life; activity, diet, support and general health.”
The baseline performance for the 15 are detailed in a report released today. These indicators may change over time as new evidence becomes available.
The report also provides an update on the Childhood Obesity Plan’s second year of implementation. Achievements to date include:The Raising Healthy Kid’s health target has had an 82 per cent achievement rate in its third quarter. Sport NZ’s Play.Sport pilot programme has been expanded from 34 schools to 44 schools across Upper Hutt and Waitakere. We know children in the most deprived areas are three times as likely to be obese. The Plan includes a target of signing up 150 new decile 1 – 4 primary schools to the Health Promoting Schools programme over two years. To date, 285 new decile 1– 4 primary and intermediate schools have signed up, 90 per cent above the target. The Education Review Office has published two reports on food, nutrition and physical activity in schools and early learning services.
The Children and Young People Living Well and Staying Well: New Zealand Childhood Obesity Programme Baseline Report is available on the Ministry of Health website www.health.govt.nz
Notes to editors:
The Children and Young People Living Well and Staying Well: New Zealand Childhood Obesity Programme Baseline Report has been prepared by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Primary Industries, Sport New Zealand and the Health Promotion Agency.
The indicators have been chosen based on their relevance to childhood obesity and ability to be measured using existing data sources. The indicators may change over time as new evidence or data becomes available.
More children are physically active: · Time spent watching TV, videos or screens · Sleep duration · Time spent on physical activity
More children eat well: · Breastfeeding rates · Consumption of fast food · Consumption of sugary drinks · Fruit and vegetable intake
Children’s environments support physical activity & healthy eating: · Awareness of the Health Star Rating system · Active transport to and from school · Use of a bicycle · Water-only policies in schools
More children have improved health outcomes: · Body Mass Index · Gestational diabetes · Raising Healthy Kids health target · Birth weight
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a bill to implement a historic pay equity settlement for 55,000 of the health sector’s lowest paid workers passed into law today with unanimous support from across the House.
The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill was fast-tracked through Parliament to ensure providers of aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services pass on the new wage rates to their workers from 1 July.
“This legislation means from 1 July eligible workers will receive pay rises of between 15 and 50 per cent,” says Dr Coleman.
“For a full-time worker, this means they will be taking home around $100 extra a week, or more than $5,000 a year.
“For the 20,000 of the 55,000 workers currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, it means from July 1 they will move to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise.
“Existing workers will be transitioned to positions on the new pay scale which reflect their skills, and their experience. For new workers employed after July 1 wages will be based on an individual’s level of qualifications.
“This settlement corrects an historic undervaluation for this group of hard working and predominantly female health workers who care for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.
“With three weeks to go, the focus is now on provider readiness and supporting providers to meet their legal obligations.”
The Ministry of Health is working closely with funders and providers on ensuring the first pay run after 1 July goes smoothly.
To support the implementation the Ministry has held nationwide information sessions, set up an implementation helpdesk, arranged to make advance payments to providers, and released guidance tools to help providers assess eligibility and transition workers to the new pay scale.
Support for providers and employees is also available through DHBs, unions, other government agencies like IRD and MBIE, and care and support industry peak bodies.
The $2 billion settlement over five years follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.
The $2.048 billion settlement over five years will be funded through an increase of $1.856 billion to Vote Health and $192 million to ACC.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is pleased with how the implementation of guaranteed hours for home and community support workers is tracking.
“Home and community support workers play a vital role in assisting older people, disabled people, and those recovering from injury or illness, with household and personal care needs,” says Dr Coleman.
“In October last year, the Ministry of Health, DHBs, home support providers and unions reached an agreement requiring support workers to be guaranteed hours according to what they usually work.
“It means that from 1 April 2017 if a client cancels a session, and the support worker cannot be found work elsewhere, they will be paid for the time.
“This agreement is an important milestone in recognising the valuable contribution care and support workers make to the lives of many New Zealanders.
“It will help give greater stability for around 24,000 care and support workers across the country and is expected to have additional benefits including reducing high staff turnover rates.”
This agreement is the second part of the In-Between Travel Settlement. The first part, which came into force in 2015/16, requires workers to be paid for travel time and mileage between client visits.
As a result of this settlement, the Government has invested $150 million over four years into this group of workers who have historically been some of the lowest paid members of the health workforce.
This group of workers also benefit from the $2 billion pay equity settlement announced on 18 April, which will see their wages increase by between 15 and 50 per cent on 1 July, depending on their qualifications and or experience.
Budget 2017 has committed $12 million over four years to fund the infrastructure needed to fluoridate more drinking water, say Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.
“While New Zealand’s oral health has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, we still have high rates of preventable tooth decay,” says Dr Coleman.
“Public drinking water currently supplies about 85 per cent of the population. Of those on public water supplies, 54 per cent receive fluoridated water.
“Increasing access to fluoridated water will improve oral health and mean fewer costly trips to the dentist. We know that children have up to 40 per cent less tooth decay in fluoridated areas compared to areas without fluoride.
“This change would benefit over 1.4 million New Zealanders who live in areas where networked community water supplies are not currently fluoridated.”
“Budget 2017 funding commitment will support the implementation of legalisation currently before the House,” says Mr Dunne.
“The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Bill recognises that water fluoridation is a health-related issue and moves the decision-making process from local councils to DHBs.
“The funding will help cover the infrastructure costs if an area does not currently fluoridate its water, but is directed by a DHB to do so.
“Decisions would be based on the assessment of health-related evidence and local needs. Recognition that fluoridating water is the single-most important initiative to improve dental health, particularly child dental health, is long overdue and I’m sure this move will be welcomed by the wider community.”
The Bill is currently awaiting its second reading. Once passed, DHBs are expected to start making decisions about water fluoridation in 2018.
Notes to editors:
Around 2.3 million New Zealanders currently have access to fluoridated water.
Fluoride occurs naturally in water supplies, however New Zealand levels are generally low compared to other countries, meaning additional fluoridation is needed to generate optimum health results. The World Health Organization recommends boosting fluoride to optimum levels.
In 2014 the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and the Royal Society of New Zealand, assisted by a panel of experts, concluded there is compelling evidence that fluoridation of water at the recommended levels produces broad benefits for the dental health of New Zealanders.
A recent report by Sapere Research Group found New Zealanders living in fluoridated drinking-water areas had:40 per cent lower lifetime incidence of tooth decay among children and adolescents; 48 per cent reduction in hospital admissions for the treatment of tooth decay among children aged 0 to 4 years; 21 per cent reduction in tooth decay among adults aged 18 to 44 years; 30 per cent reduction in tooth decay among adults aged 45 years and over.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the successful national campaign highlighting the signs of a stroke and the need to act quickly is being repeated.
The FAST campaign focuses on the key signs of a stroke and emphasises the swift action needed if you’re concerned.
“Each year in New Zealand about 9,000 people have a stroke. Early identification and treatment is crucial to reduce the likelihood of brain damage and lasting harm,” says Dr Coleman.
“During the first campaign, which ran between June and August last year, there was a noticeable lift of around 40 calls a week to St John Ambulance for stroke or suspected stroke.
“Frontline clinicians reported seeing patients and their families who cited the FAST messaging, saying it prompted them to act.
“The 2017 awareness FAST campaign kicks off today and will run for three months across TV, radio and other multimedia channels.
“The campaign will have an additional focus on population groups who are at particularly high risk of stroke, such as Māori and Pacific.”
FAST stands for Face, Arm, Speech and Time (to call 111) - sudden changes to a person’s face such as drooping, loss of arm strength or impaired speech are signs that they’re experiencing a stroke.
The campaign has been developed by the Ministry of Health, Health Promotion Agency and Stroke Foundation.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry welcome the kick-off of the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017.
The New Zealand Lions Series 2017 will take place from 3 June to 8 July 2017, and will see the British & Irish Lions rugby team play ten matches against New Zealand in seven host cities, including three test matches.
The series starts tomorrow night when the Lions take on the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians at Whangarei’s Toll Stadium.
“The NZ Lions Series is an iconic rugby event which has significant local and international interest,” says Mr Bridges.
“The Government has committed $3 million from the Major Events Development Fund to support the series. This is going towards a range of leveraging opportunities including a school curriculum programme and Rugby 2017 Festival which will help host cities showcase New Zealand culture.”
“The last Lions Series in 2005 was hugely successful, attracting more than 20,000 international visitors staying more than 431,000 nights in total. The overall positive impact on GDP was estimated at $135 million.
“This is international competition at the highest level, and New Zealand Rugby has done an outstanding job in organising a series that will reinforce our capability to host major sporting events,” says Dr Coleman.
“With no tickets left on public sale for the Crusaders match or the three tests, and at least as many international visitors expected as in 2005, this year’s series will again be a remarkable economic boost for New Zealand.”
“The Rugby 2017 Festival includes a series of rugby club ‘Legends at the Local’ events across the host cities, Matariki programmes and arts events all designed to engage fans in the days around the matches,” says Ms Barry.
“It also includes the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Lands of Hope and Glory’ concert, a world record haka attempt before the Maori All Blacks game in Rotorua and a ‘Dunedin Sounds’ music event.
“To help further enhance the fan experience there will be a fan zone on Queens Wharf in Auckland to coincide with the test matches, with live match screenings, performances, exhibitions, food and beverage showcases. Some of the other host cities will also have their own fan zones.”
The Festival programme is available online at www.rugby2017festival.com
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says final preparations are underway for the National Bowel Screening Programme to begin in Hutt Valley and Wairarapa.
“Every year more than 3,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with bowel cancer and more than 1,200 die from it, so it is important that the programme is now being rolled out,” says Dr Coleman.
“Eligible residents, aged 60 to 74, living in those DHB areas will be invited to take part in the National Bowel Screening Programme. Other DHBs will join in stages over the next three years.
“When the programme is fully implemented more than 700,000 people will be invited for free screening every two years. It is anticipated that once bowel screening is available nationwide, in the early rounds between 500 and 700 cancers will be detected annually.
“The Government allocated $39.3 million over four years in Budget 2016 for the establishment of the National Bowel Screening Programme. Budget 2017 provides a further $38.5 million to build on that rollout.
“The introduction of the programme follows on from the successful pilot that has been run by Waitemata DHB since late 2011. Waitemata will continue screening through the pilot until the end of this year and transition to the national programme in January 2018.
“Southern and Counties Manukau DHBs will be the next to join the rollout and the nationwide rollout will be complete 2020.
Further information about the National Bowel Screening Programme is available at www.bowelscreening.health.govt.nz.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an incentive scheme designed to increase the number of health professionals working in communities and roles that have traditionally been difficult to staff is supporting the diversity of the health workforce.
“The Voluntary Bonding Scheme supports new graduates to work in specialty roles or communities that find it hard to attract health professionals.
“Through the 2017 cohort of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme we are seeing a better reflection of the make-up of our population supported to enter hard to fill roles in our health workforce.
“Maori accounted for over 20 per cent of registrations of new graduate doctors in the 2017 intake, up from 13 per cent in 2016. 12 per cent of registrations for new doctors were from Asian graduates, up from 8 per cent in 2016.
“Registrations for this scheme for nursing include 16.5 per cent Maori graduates, up from 15 per cent in 2016. Asian graduates accounted for 11.2 per cent and 8.7 per cent of the nursing registrations are from Pasifika.
“Evidence suggests that matching the demographic of the workforce to the population improves health outcomes and access to services.
“To date, approximately $34.8 million has been paid out to eligible participants to help ensure that our health workforce has access to some of the country's best graduates in the roles and areas where they are needed.”
As at 1 February this year, 4,228 people, including the new 2017 intake, have registered for the scheme since its introduction in 2009.
Those on the scheme receive three annual payments after a bonded period of three years, to help repay their student loan, or as top-up income.
This programme is supported by the extra $3.9 billion invested into the health sector by Budget 17, taking the health budget to a record $16.8 billion.
Health Minister and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman has released the ‘Sit Less, Move More, Sleep Well: Active play guidelines for under-fives’.
“Regular active play and good quality sleep are important to every child’s health and development, but are particularly important for our young children,” says Dr Coleman.
“These are the first activity guidelines that support families to raise healthy under-fives by providing comprehensive advice on physical activity, active play, sleep and screen time for under-fives.
“New Zealand is the first country to integrate sleep with its advice for parents and caregivers of children under five years, which shows a more holistic approach to children’s health and development.”
The new guidelines, published by the Ministry of Health together with Sport New Zealand complement the physical activity guidelines for 5 – 17 year olds which were recently released.
They are one of a range of initiatives being undertaken as part of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan and are part of a wider work plan to ensure that New Zealanders live active, healthy lives.
One of the initiatives under the 22 point plan was the launch of the new raising healthy kids health target, making New Zealand one of the first countries to have a target around childhood obesity.
The latest results show that DHBs referred 86 per cent of obese children identified in B4 School Checks to a professional for clinical assessment and family based nutrition under the raising healthy kids target.
The advice in the guidelines includes:Discouraging screen time for children under two and limiting screen time to less than one hour every day for children aged two and over Providing regular activity breaks to limit the amount of time a child spends sitting Plenty of opportunities for active play (at least three hours per day for toddlers and pre-schoolers) Good-quality sleep of 14 to 17 hours every day (for babies), 12 to 15 hours every day (for infants), 11 to 14 hours every day (for toddlers), and 10 to 13 hours every day (for pre-schoolers), with consistent bed and wake-up times.
The guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health, working with Sport New Zealand, the Health Promotion Agency and an advisory group of experts on physical activity and child health and wellbeing. The Ministry also consulted with a wide range of stakeholders.
The Sit Less, Move More, Sleep Well – Active play guidelines for under-fives are available here.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an incentive scheme that has attracted over 240 nursing graduates to register to work in specialties and communities that are traditionally hard-to-staff is making a real difference.
“It’s important people can access the appropriate services that they need, and having sufficient staff in the roles and areas where they are needed is a critical part of this,” says Dr Coleman.
“In total, almost half of all nursing graduates that registered for the 2017 Voluntary Bonding Scheme intake indicated that they will work for at least three years in mental health hospital, community and addiction services.
“Since 2011, when Mental Health and Addictions was added to the scheme for registered nurses, almost 700 nurses have joined under this category which is over 30 per cent of the 2088 nurses who registered for the scheme.
“The most popular role in the hard-to-staff specialty for nurses this year was in mental health, which accounted for around 50 per cent of the registrations.
“The other half of this group are split between community focused nurses and aged care staff.
“A total of 22 graduate nurses have registered for roles in hard-to-staff communities. Of these, 13 will work at South Canterbury District Health Board (DHB), three in the Wairoa District and six at West Coast DHB.”
This year 364 health professionals have registered for the Voluntary Bonding Scheme intake. As well as the nursing graduates, there are 58 doctors, 53 midwives, six sonographers and five dentists.
As at 30 April 2017, 4,228 people had registered for the scheme since it began in 2009 and approximately $34.8 million has been paid out to eligible participants.