A new pilot to help Taranaki children with weight issues

23 January 2012

The Taranaki District Health Board and Sport Taranaki have joined forces to help combat the rise of overweight children in our community. Whanau Pakari: A Multidisciplinary Intervention Programme for Child and Adolescent Obesity is a pilot which aims to improve health outcomes for local children and adolescents with weight issues.

Whanau Pakari is the first pilot of its kind in New Zealand that aims to assess the success of a multidisciplinary intervention programme. It includes a full-time Healthy Lifestyles Co-ordinator, a part-time dietitian and psychologist, with clinical oversight from Paediatrician Yvonne Anderson. Dr Anderson said this will ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to achieve the best possible outcomes. These team members will join up with the Sport Taranaki Health Development Advisor Kris Moller who will provide the weekly activity sessions.

Dr Anderson is excited to see the pilot begin. “The programme caters for families throughout Taranaki with children and teens aged between 5 and 16 years who have weight issues and would benefit from a more healthy and active lifestyle,” she said.  “Whanau Pakari is especially relevant for Maori whanau, as Maori children and adolescents are over-represented in national figures relating to weight issues.”

If national statistics are representative of Taranaki, there are estimated to be 2300 children and adolescents in the region that would be classed as obese. 

Kris Moller, whose role it is to motivate and help the children and families become more healthy and active said many of the lifestyle changes the families need to make require breaking habits they have formed over several years, which is not always easy. “With the extra support from this team, it is intended that the families will be empowered with the necessary skills to make these lifestyle changes sustainable once they have graduated from the programme.” 

The Service starts at the end of January 2012.  Referrals can be accepted from Public Health Nurses, GPs, Kaiawhina, Practice nurses, Whanau Ora navigators, Maori Health workers, and Youth Centre workers.  Families who are involved in the intervention arm of the pilot will be given physical fitness assessments, one-to-one family support, supermarket tours, food label reading sessions, community vegetable garden sessions, cooking nights and general advice about healthy eating. 

The Taranaki DHB and Sport Taranaki are committed to the success of this programme and hope that by raising awareness about weight issues more families will improve their health, physical activity and nutrition. 

For more information please call:
Samantha Vincent
Communications Manager
Sport Taranaki
Yarrow Stadium, Maratahu Street, New Plymouth
P:  06 759 0930 ext 729/715
F: 06 759 1779
E:  sam@sporttaranaki.org.nz

Last updated: Monday, January 23, 2012

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