There is one thing for sure, the trending trajectory of community health is heading in a dangerous direction - the status quo isn't working.

So great to hear the DHB coming out and saying things have to change, for funds into health promotion and prevention, stopping people falling off the cliff, rather than a system of fixing them at the bottom.

With the ever-increasing demand for health care services, we have two options - we either increase the size of the hospital empires to receive and treat more patients, or we change things in our community lifestyle to decrease the flow of people with preventable health conditions flooding our hospital staff.

So it's great the HBDHB is changing tack somewhat, and looking to increase the focus on wellness, and making health literacy a thing, and driving a greater awareness and focus in the pre-emptive space.


Surely a greater investment in preventative care is the way to go, focusing on developing health, rather than treating the sickness. Let's take it to the next level and make health the cool thing to do – instead of sickness empires, let's grow health and fitness empires.

Let's make it groovy to garden, get kids inspired to grow a seedling and get some epic veges growing in the backyard, and fruit trees, yes lots of fruit trees. We can have fun in our street, plan who is growing what, make if fun.

The cooking shows on TV are great – let's make it cool to cook. And if we are already into the garden, we will want to cook the real stuff, not that packet stuff.

Whatever it takes, we need to change, change our education system from the ground up, and all integrated through other aligned services that a human will pass through during their life-span.

Toddlers and young kids having painful full sets of teeth removed is definitely not cool (and insanely expensive for us as a community). Kids on the fast track to unhealthy weight issues at a young age is unfair on them.

It's all unintentional of course, but highlights a sad lack of awareness. And that's where the DHB's talk of promoting health literacy is encouraging – the more we can educate people of how to be healthy, excite and inspire to be healthy, the better we will all be.

So we need to create more excitement and inspirational attraction to our fitness centres, from little kids, to elderly, inspired and excited in a buzzing hub of health and fitness.

We need to push back against the invasion of technology. There is too much of a mindset that technology is here to stay, and we just have to live with it. Sure, but we can't just shrug our shoulders and give up, no way, we need to manage it, technology as a babysitter all day and night will have tragic impacts on our future.

At the moment we can't see the wood through the trees, there's so much stuff going on in our community that just shouldn't be.

If the Martians came down, and said to us, okay so you are having children's painful teeth removed, massive health costs, people – so please humans, tell us why you happily give your kids junk fizzy drinks? Umm yeah / nah, good question Mr Martian.

Yip, the gods must think we are crazy.

Regardless of who we are, young or old, creed, or race – if we have developed the physical capability, the knowledge of what we need to do and why, then that will feed the motivation and confidence needed to get involved in healthy community fitness and activity.

■ Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and is also a lecturer in sports science at EIT.