New Zealand Labour Party

Pacific and Maori kids left out of equation

The Government’s target to have 95 per cent of pre-school children identified as obese referred to an appropriate health professional by 2017 will make little difference to obesity rates in some of our most disadvantaged communities, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. 

A report commissioned by the Health Promotion Agency shows 39 per cent of Maori and 50 per cent of Pasifika children are not receiving full B4School checks.

 “The point of the B4School check target is to pick up children who need dietary advice and ongoing support, yet these kids aren’t even getting to that first appointment,” Nanaia Mahuta says. 

“Surely the focus should be on getting children to that initial check. 

“The early detection of health issues is a vital part of any plan to tackle obesity. The Government has failed to even get off the starter block in this instance. 

Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says there are some cultural aspects to improving statistics such as overcoming language barriers, promoting and undertaking checks in a fanau setting, and having predominantly Maori and Pasifika health providers undertake checks in these communities. 

“The Government has had seven years to get on top of this issue. Meanwhile obesity rates have reached a critical level. 

“This latest plan, however, will not support the best outcomes for Maori and Pasifika children or their families,” Su’a William Sio says.