Of particular concern is the increase in child and adult obesity – the almost 7 fold difference in obesity between the upper and the lower quintile of SES in child obesity prevalence and the fact that more than three quarters of the number (90,700) of obese children are either Pacific or Māori AND 9% of the 2 to 4 year old children are obese! Very concerning.
The Ministry of Health has published key findings from the 2011/12 New Zealand Health Survey.
The survey contains information about smoking, nutrition, access to health care and oral health, based on data collected from 12,000 adults and 4000 children.
The survey shows that over the past five years, there have been a number of improvements, for example:
· Nearly nine out of ten adults say they are in good health and almost all parents believe their children are in good health
· There has been a significant drop in youth smoking – the rate of daily smoking for 15-17 year olds has dropped from 14 per cent in 2006/07 to 6 per cent
· More children under 6 years are seeing a GP for free – this has increased substantially from 67 per cent in 2006/07 to 83 per cent
· 90 per cent of school-aged children have visited a dental health care worker for basic oral health services in the past 12 months
· More people are able to get an appointment to see their GP within 24 hours compared to 2006/07.
However, the health sector faces some challenges and could make further improvements in areas such as obesity and diabetes and ensuring everyone in New Zealand experiences the same level of good health.
In line with other developed countries, New Zealand's obesity rate continues to increase and is the same as Australia at 28%.
The information in the survey will be used by the Ministry of Health and other health providers for planning purposes to ensure they are delivering effective health services.
It will be circulated widely within the health sector.
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