The Tom Column - National committed to the health and well-being of Kiwi kids

Columns
Thursday, February 23, 2017

National believes New Zealanders deserve high-quality health services and delivering better services remains our top priority.
At the same time, we’re focused on delivering better results for New Zealanders and their families. That’s why this Government has introduced initiatives committed to improving the health and well-being of Kiwi kids.
This year, 543 schools will take part in Fruit in Schools, which sees high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables delivered each week. Over 104,000 students will benefit from the Fruit in Schools programme which will also help teach them how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  Here in the New Plymouth electorate we have 7 schools taking part in this programme which is fantastic.
Up to 24 different types of fruits and vegetables are on the menu throughout the country and more than 20 million servings of produce will be dished up over the year.
The Government invests about $8 million into the Fruit in Schools programme each year. This is being supported by the extra $568 million going into Health for 2016/17.
Fruit in Schools complements the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to tackle childhood obesity.
The Raising Healthy Kids target was introduced in 2016 and aims to ensure that through the B4 School Check, kids and their families are put in touch with primary healthcare professionals who can check for any clinical risk associated with obesity, encourage families to take action and monitor growth
The B4 School Check programme continues to perform well, reaching 92 per cent of all four-year olds for the second year in a row since 2014/15.
In the six months to the end of December 2016, 29,796 four-year-olds were screened, an increase on the 29,612 screened in the same period in 2015.
In 2015/16 uptake of the B4 School Check was also 93 per cent among those living in high deprivation areas.
All families are encouraged to participate in the free health check. B4 School Check providers are working with other services such as early childhood education, and focusing on hard to reach communities to encourage uptake.
Focusing on results, we are working towards specific, measurable targets to improve the lives of families, particularly the most vulnerable.