Rotorua is to be given a $2.5 million funding boost to run an obesity programme that will see people weigh less, have smaller waists and be able to run faster.
Health Minister Tony Ryall yesterday announced Te Arawa Whanau Ora, in partnership with Kowhai Health Associates, has been selected to lead a $2.5 million anti-obesity initiative in Rotorua.
"Healthy Families New Zealand is a new $40 million initiative which aims to improve people's health where they live, learn, work and play in order to prevent obesity," Mr Ryall said during a visit to Rotorua.
"It is a complete reform of the way we address the underlying causes of poor health, including obesity, smoking and excessive drinking.
Te Arawa Whanau Ora and Kowhai Health Associates will lead the Healthy Families New Zealand initiative in Rotorua.
"They will recruit a dedicated health promotion workforce who will work across schools, early childhood education centres, workplaces, and sports clubs, supporting Rotorua communities to make healthy living choices."
Te Arawa Whanau Ora Collective project manager Ngaroma Grant said they were pleased to be a partner in the new initiative.
"Whanau Ora in Te Arawa is about supporting all families to become resilient and achieve their dreams and aspirations.
"Healthy Families shares a similar kaupapa (vision) in that it encourages whanau to live healthy and active lives."
Ms Grant said their experience working with whanau in the whanau ora space showed goals related to health and wellbeing were the most desired goals families had.
"Our research suggests that overwhelmingly families who participate in Whanau Ora achieve these goals and we feel that by working together we can support even more whanau to make the positive changes not only to their own health and wellbeing, but to their whanau as a whole."
From October, Healthy Families New Zealand will roll out to 10 communities - Rotorua, East Cape, the Far North District, Invercargill, Lower Hutt, Whanganui, Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, Spreydon-Heathcote and Waitakere. It is expected to reach about 900,000 New Zealanders.
Healthy Families New Zealand is based on the Healthy Together Victoria programme from Australia.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said it was a positive step in creating healthier lifestyles.
"It is great that Rotorua has been chosen to lead this $2.5 million anti-obesity initiative. It's an investment in the health of Rotorua families and will help to promote better lifestyle choices.
"We want to set good examples for our children and that means eating better, exercising more and choosing not to smoke or drink excessively."