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Northland DHB strong supporter of schools banning sugary drinks

Northland DHB strongly supports the move by the Ministries of Education and Health to encourage schools to ban sugary drinks, calling it “one of the most important strategic steps that could be put place to improve the health of Northland kids.”

Chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain commented: “Sugary drinks have a direct influence on some of the health conditions that really impact on the lives of our children.

“They are one of the most significant causes of poor oral health and contribute to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Sugary drink consumption is also associated with problem behaviours.

“We’re talking about large numbers of kids who will experience ongoing pain, reduced quality of life and lower life expectancy because of these drinks.”

The Ministries of Education and Health are encouraging schools to consider banning sugary drinks from their premises and adopting water-only (and plain reduced fat milk) policies.

Dr Chamberlain says the move aligns with Northland’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Framework recently developed by Northland’s Health Alliance Leadership Team, which consists of executives from Northland DHB, primary healthcare organisations (PHOs) and Maori health organisations.

Its goal is ‘to increase the number of Maori tamariki who are at a healthy weight by 5% through good kai in five years’.  A key focus of the framework is to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverage in all settings, such as schools, early childhood centres and workplaces.

Northland DHB removed sugar-sweetened beverages from cafeterias and vending machines on own sites in late 2014.

Dr Chamberlain said Northland DHB can offer practical support for schools considering becoming water (and plain reduced fat milk)-only, including a sample policy and advice from its health-promoting schools advisors.

“I acknowledge that it’s a courageous step for boards of trustees to consider but we are committed to supporting them. 2016 could be the year that all New Zealand schools ban sugary drinks,” he said.

Another major Northland organisation to put its support behind the move is the Far North District Council. Far North Mayor John Carter said: “The Far North District Council is committed to helping communities to become healthier and encourages schools connected to its water supplies to adopt water-only policies.  The Council is also working with a number of rural communities to improve water supplies so they meet drinking water standards.”

Northland DHB and Whangarei District Council installed water fountains along Te Huarahi o Te Whai, the Hatea Loop last year.   Promoting the brand ‘Water Is The Best Drink’ the water foundations supply free, clean, drinkable water for the public.






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