New Zealand First says the Government must live up to its health responsibilities and instigate a national strategy to tackle our burgeoning diabetes and obesity epidemics.
Health spokesperson Barbara Stewart says the Government must also implement a diabetes screening programme as part of any national strategy.
“We are becoming an increasingly overweight population which will eventually become dependent on our already overburdened health system.”
Mrs Stewart said the over-consumption of sugar is one cause of obesity and diabetes.
“New Zealand has one of the highest sugar intakes in the world and coincidently we have one of the highest rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the world.
“In 2011/12 almost three in ten adults (28 per cent) were obese – that equates to about one million New Zealand adults – and one in ten children were obese.”
Mrs Stewart says the levels of sugar in our food are effectively poisoning our society, contributing to dental and respiratory problems, obesity, and diabetes.
“For example, canned tomato sauce contains more than 20 per cent sugar and the pre-bottled variety has more than 30 per cent sugar.
“The Government scrapped the Health Eating, Healthy Action Plan and seems to be doing little else to combat these health issues.
“All the facts tell us it will soon be a case of now or never for the Government to take action over obesity and diabetes,” says Mrs Stewart.