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Childhood Obesity in New Zealand is a Nutritional Issuse

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Nutritional issue that is affecting the well being of New Zealand society is childhood obesity. Around 11 percent of the child population is obese and around 21 percent are overweight. This is a problem as new zealand has the fifth highest rate of childhood obesity. Explanation of nutritional issue For an individual to be obese they have to have an abnormal or excessive amount of fat that presents a risk to the individuals health. The Body mass index (BMI) is used to help figure out if an individual is underweight, at a health weight, overweight, obese or extremely obese. Bmi is calculated by the person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the individual’s height in metres.

For the individual to be considered obese their bmi is 30 or more according to the World Health Organization. Obesity in New Zealand children is high with one in nine children now classified as ‘obese’, while three in ten adults are obese. New Zealand has the fifth highest rate of childhood obesity in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development which is bad as there are thirty five other countries apart of the organisation. New Zealand has about 11 per cent of the child population to be considered obese. According to the Ministry of Health the rate of childhood obesity has increased from 8 per cent in 2006/2007 to 12 per cent in 2016/2017. While there is a further 21 percent of children that are overweight but not obese. Who is affected by the issue? Individuals and groups that are affected by the issue of obesity are children, family, the community, there are also three different ethnicities that are mainly affected by this issue as well. Families and children are affected by the issue not just by them physically having the weight problem but by the other types of health issues that come with it. Health issues that may come with a individual being heavily overweight is the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, having a high blood pressure and they could also develop mental health issues such as anxiety, it’s not always just physical illnesses. If a young child develops a secondary illness such as type 2 diabetes they may need help from the family they have around they to help manage it.

The community is affected by how 42 per cent of the New Zealand population is obese which this can lead to hospitals dealing with more patients that are getting Gastric bypass surgery or other types of surgeries that can help an individual lose the weight. Gastric bypass surgery is a type of surgery that takes a lot of time and money to do which this explains why this is not done much and why it is offered to people over the age of 18, this can cause hospitals to go to the ministry of health to get more funding to be able to more surgeries which affects taxpayers. The three different ethnicity that are affected by the issue of being extremely overweight are those that are Maori, Pacifica and European. Maori and Pacifica people having a higher risk at developing obesity then European people. 18 percent of Maori and 29 percent of Pacifica children are considered obese. They are affected mainly due to factors that environmental and biological. Factors that are environment and biological are what they eat, how fast their metabolism, what is the financial status of the city like , how many fast food places are around and what type of area are they living in. all of these can affect the individual of becoming overweight or obese. The values of all the groups combined can affected if a child or another individual is obese or overweight or not. “Low-income families make food-buying decisions based on what their children will eat and how satisfying it is, rather than buying ´healthy´ food”, says the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), this is because the families value that their children will actually eat some food then eat nothing and all. Mst food that is cheap is considered ‘unhealthy’ which may be true but when you look at how much it cost to buy a two litre bottle of soda for a dollar compared to a two litres of milk that costs $3.50, there is no wonder why people are buying cheap food. The causes or significant factors of the issue are explained and analysed.

The socioeconomic status of a child’s family can play a big part in what food they eat and where they live. The socioeconomic status can influence what food items a child parents will get, with a child being in a family of a low socioeconomic status they we tend to eat food with low nutritional value and food that is generally fast food.they are more vulnerable to how cheap fast food is. Families with low socioeconomic areas live in areas that have a high concentration of fast food places. Mcdonald’s is one of most child targeted fast food restaurants, with restaurants that are target at child they will sponsor children sports team with food voucher for their food chain to encourage them to buy and get more than what the voucher offers. When it comes to food parents will try to get food that is considered ´healthy´ however this does not happen all the time as food that is considered ´healthy´ is normally too expensive for someone that falls into a low status. A spokesperson from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and a associate professor at the University of Auckland´s Faculty of Education, Dr Mike O’Brien say that ¨the links between poverty, nutrition, obesity and health are fairly well established now. If we really are serious about addressing these issues then reducing levels of poverty is a critical part of that¨.

So children that are from low socioeconomic class are often living in areas with high amount poverty so food is not what it should be. The food a child consumes can have a big effect on their energy levels. If a child has been eating junk food they may have energy for the next hour or so but it does not give the child enough substance to last all day so they may snack throughout the day. The food may be ´healthy and it will help the child to have enough energy throughout the day so they will be able to do actives and be able to exercise. If a child does not have the energy to do sports or other activities they will end up laying on the couch watching T.V. or laying on their bed. Since the child is not burn the energy they have from food they are turning the energy into fat. This resulting in over time the child starts to become obese with the repeating trend on this type of active. Technologoy is somethign that households from Tv´s to computer to gaming consules they are apart of childrens everyday life style.

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