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Published: 6 September 2014

Authors: New Zealand Medical Association.

Existing approaches to tackling obesity in New Zealand are not doing enough. New Zealand is now the fourth most obese country in the OECD, with nearly two thirds of adults either overweight (34%) or obese (31%). The rate of obesity is highest in Māori adults (48%) and Pacific adults (68%), and in those with greatest levels of deprivation. The obesity rate in children continues to increase.

Obesity is a preventable risk factor for the development of various non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several cancers, and is associated with a huge financial burden on the healthcare system, as well as indirect costs to society.