The Education Review Office will be looking at the state of healthy eating and physical activity levels in early childhood education services from the start of 2016 for its next national report.
ERO’s evaluation of what early childhood services are doing and how well services are doing in this area is part of a new Government initiative to improve people’s health and reduce childhood obesity.
ERO will be carrying out observations in schools as well as early childhood services, looking specifically at the status of food, nutrition and physical activity.
The Government’s new initiative is focused in three areas - interventions for those who are already obese, more support for people at risk of obesity and encouraging all New Zealanders to take a healthier approach to life.
The package includes a range of measures to get families to be more active and think about eating more healthily as well as improving nutrition information on food packaging and reviewing how food is advertised to children.
It will also target young children for obesity checks, with the Before School Check used to identify children who may be at risk. A new target will be brought in next year that by December 2017, 95 percent of obese children identified in the Before School Check will be referred to a health professional for further assessment and help.
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Meanwhile there is debate as to the cause of obesity - is it the consumption of 'unhealthy' food? is it simply the amount of calories we consume? or does it just come down to a lack of exercise?
Could busy families, greater reliance on take-away food, children spending long-hours travelling in vehicles, attending ECE programmes with less space to move in than if the children were at home - be factors that should be more of interest????