Healthy Families NZ a promising approach

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an interim evaluation of the Healthy Families NZ initiative has found it is helping communities around the country to make healthy changes.

“Healthy Families NZ is about encouraging people to live healthier lives by making good food choices, being physically active, moderating alcohol consumption and being smoke-free,” says Dr Coleman.

“The initiative challenges communities to think differently about how to address the underlying causes of poor health.

“It’s about thinking bigger, driving innovation, and creating good health in the places where we spend our time – early childhood education, schools, workplaces, sports clubs, marae and other community settings.

“An interim evaluation of the Healthy Families NZ, released today, has found that it is a promising approach which has been implemented with integrity to its intention and purpose.

“The initiative is well underway to strengthening our prevention system, and increasing the numbers of health promoting environments where people live, learn, work and play.

“Enabling and supporting Māori leadership is an integral part of Healthy Families NZ. The report finds that the design of the initiative has allowed local responsiveness and ensured Māori are prioritised.  

“As a result of the initiative, we’re starting to see a number of positive changes happening in communities around the country.”

Healthy Families NZ is one of the 22 initiatives in the Childhood Obesity Plan which the Government launched in 2015. New Zealand is one of the first OECD countries to have a target and a comprehensive plan to help address childhood obesity.

Healthy Families NZ is operating in ten locations; Far North, Waitakere, Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, Rotorua, East Cape, Whanganui, Lower Hutt, Christchurch, and Invercargill.

Across these regions, the initiative has the potential to impact the lives of over one million New Zealanders.

Healthy Families NZ is being supported by an annual investment of $10 million.

The Interim Evaluation Report was commissioned by the Ministry of Health and produced by Massey University. It is available on the Ministry of Health website here.

The design of these evaluations is to provide an ongoing assessment of the initiative with the next evaluation due in mid-2018.