One in nine children (11%) aged two to 14 years were classified as obese in the last New Zealand Health Survey (2014/15), up from 8% in the 2006/2007 survey.
Professor Barry Taylor, Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine and Founder of Dunedin’s BMI Clinic for unhealthy weight children stated that “by the time the children reach us, it appears their trajectory has been set, possibly since infancy. We know that overweight infants are more likely to become overweight children and end up as overweight adults.
"Seventy percent of children between six months and two years are gaining weight too fast. This is a combined result of poor diet, poor sleep and not enough physical activity. If children don’t get enough sleep, the research shows that they eat differently too.”
As parents, we all know our little ones are wonderful sponges, great at recalling statements we’ve made (usually at the most awkward moment) and mirroring our behaviours. They learn about life through the example we set, which is why encouraging healthy active lifestyles as a family is an important focus for PORSE.
PORSE works with whānau and the wider community to promote healthy, active lifestyles for our little ones in those crucial early years before school, where so much of their mental, physical and emotional development occurs.
We recently teamed up with national gym chain Snap Fitness to drive an initiative to get our children more active by offering parents ideas on how to promote exercise and healthy eating from an early age.
The focus is on forging lifelong habits, not just short-term solutions. With advancements in technology, children are spending more time glued to screens. PORSE wants to get Kiwi kids engaging in active play and kickstart healthy lifestyles for the whole family.