NZ ranks third on global list of obese children

Drive 03/09/2018
Photo: File.

A new campaign featuring Kiwi sports legends Cory Jane and Gemma McCaw is challenging more kids to get active to battle childhood obesity.

New Zealand currently ranks third overall in developed countries for obesity in children.

New Zealand's Healthiest Schools Challenge encourages primary school children to count their steps with the help of a pedometer along with other physical activities that are logged to help battle the bulge.

Boyd Swinburn, obesity expert at the University of Auckland, told RadioLIVE Drive that we need to work on "reducing our terrible rates of childhood obesity", but is unsure if this is the right way to go about changing ways.

"I don't think schools are crying out for another physical activity programme.

"There's a wealth of sports and other physically active things kids can be involved with," Mr Swinburn said.

"But what we need is something that's not just a flash like this, six weeks of pounding steps. We need something that is more integrated into the education system."

In July, a study by Otago University found 2 million Kiwis will be considered obese by 2038 if the obesity epidemic isn't curbed.

The research, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, shows the average body mass index (BMI) went from 26.4 to 28.3 between 1997 and 2015. At this rate, by the early 2030s it will cross over the obesity threshold of 30.

Listen to the full interview with Boyd Swinburn above.

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