Kia ora koutou
Welcome to the first Healthy Families Lower Hutt Update.
Healthy Families Lower Hutt is here to create a healthier Lower Hutt - and you’re receiving this email because we think you would like to see that happen too.
This first update is to introduce you to who we are, what we’re here to do, and how we could partner with you to see the health of Lower Hutt changed for the better.
What is Healthy Families Lower Hutt?
We’re part of a national initiative called Healthy Families NZ that aims to improve people’s health in the places where we live, learn, work and play. We’re funded by the Ministry of Health and Healthy Families Lower Hutt is being led by Hutt City Council.
There are 10 Healthy Families NZ communities across Aotearoa, each chosen because we have some of the worst health statistics in the country.
But if we have it our way, Lower Hutt will not be staying that way.
Why are we here?
Preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers are a known threat to our quality of life – and their rates are rising, especially in our Māori and Pacific communities.
Being obese or overweight is one of the key risk factors for developing these diseases – and New Zealand is now the third most obese nation in the OECD.
Even more worryingly, one in three New Zealand children are now obese or overweight, and more than a third are inactive.
We have to make a change, and that change has to be now.
And now for some good news
By their very definition, preventable diseases are preventable. This is not a lost cause. Together, we can create a healthier future for Lower Hutt.
What would it look like?
Improving the health of Lower Hutt is definitely not a straight-forward job, but by taking a systems approach, we believe it can be done.
Our aim is to influence the systems people interact with each day, so that wherever we go, we’re surrounded by health promoting environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
What can systems change look like?
Let’s use the example of "Wiremu’s family".
Wiremu is a half-back and a father of four. He plays rugby union for his local club, but wished the fields and clubhouse were more family-friendly.
Wiremu loves it when his wife, Kayla, and the kids come down to support him, but hates that other supporters drink and smoke on the sidelines near them.
Kayla doesn’t like it either – or that the only lunch options for her and the kids are hot chips and fizzy drinks. It just doesn’t seem right at a sports club.
How could we use systems change to make this a healthier, more family-friendly environment?
- Support any review of smokefree policies to include sports grounds
- Create an inter-club smoking cessation challenge
- Provide templates for club policies and a code of conduct where: water is the first choice, sideline smoking and drinking is prohibited, and there must be a healthy option on the menu
- Encourage the club to utilise their grounds during the week to hold physical activity sessions (e.g. pilates, bootcamp) for supporters/general public to build revenue and a sense of community
- Provide family-friendly fundraising ideas and models (e.g. Amazing Race, family fun day, kids’ triathlon).
Everyone would benefit from these sorts of changes. The club would increase its reputation and open up new revenue streams, families would feel welcome and involved in club life, players would be healthier and have greater pride in their club, and supporters would be in an environment that encouraged them to make healthier choices.
We can’t do it alone
Creating a healthy future for our whānau and communities is going to take all of us
Parents, health professionals, coaches, teachers, pastors, kaumatua, children, businesses – we all play a part.
These email updates are a way that we will keep you informed of the work of Healthy Families Lower Hutt, as well as highlighting healthy change in our community and inviting you to share your thoughts and ideas along the way.
If you know of community initiatives helping to create healthy change in Lower Hutt, or you’re keen to be involved in this initiative, we would love to hear about it
Please feel free to get in touch on email
or via our Facebook page.
Healthy Families Lower Hutt