Childhood Nutrition and Wellbeing

Children should be able to grow up in an environment which enables them to be healthy. In the last 30 years, our food environment has changed.  There are a lot more processed and packaged foods now which are high in sugar, fat, and salt and which are very tasty, relatively cheap and often aggressively marketed. This means that it can be easy to consume more sugar and fat than we need, and children are now much more at risk of being malnourished, overweight or obese. Sugary drinks in particular can increase these risks.

Changing our food environment and changing the types of food and drinks we consume are key to improving health, especially for children. This means that healthy foods and drinks need to be the convenient, easy and affordable choice.

Everyone has a role to play in helping to create a healthy food environment in the places we live, learn, work and play. Achieving this will take the collective effort of consumers, schools, pre-schools, businesses, councils, the food industry, food producers, food retailers, government, supermarkets, sports organisations, media and so on.

5210 - The healthy way to go

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5210 is a set of tools and resources available across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes which encourage children and their families and whānau to eat vegetables and fruit, limit screen time, be active, and drink water or milk instead of sugary drinks.  These resources can be used by anyone so that families are supported with living these messages wherever they go, while the tools can also be used by health practitioners to initiate healthy conversations and set goals with families and whānau.

5210 encourages children and their families and whānau to make healthy choices every day that everyone benefits from. This includes eating vegetables and fruit, limiting screen time, being active, and drinking water or milk instead of sugary drinks.

Go 5210 everyday 

 Five or more vegetables and fruit     

  • Choose a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruit.  
  • Vegetables and fruits that are in season are less expensive.  Try farmers’ markets, community gardens, or grow a few of your own.

  • Frozen and canned vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh vegetables.

  • Avoid dried fruits and canned fruits in syrups that have a lot of sugar.  

Less than two hours screen time

  • Less than one hour of screen time a day if under  five years old, and none if under two years old.

  • Keep bedrooms free of screens and devices, such as computers, phones, TVs, gaming consoles, and tablets.

  • Turn off screens during meal times and enjoy eating together as a family.

  • Turn off screens and devices at least an hour before bedtime. 

Be active for one hour or more     

  • Swap screens for active games and play.

  • Walk, bike, scooter or skate board to get to places.

  • Be active in everyday life through play, cultural activities, kapa haka, dance, sport, and household tasks.

  • Get outdoors, learn new skills, and visit friends.  

Zero sugary drinks - choose water or plain milk

  • Sugary drinks increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

  • Drinks that often have a lot of sugar are flavoured milks, fruit juices, fruit drinks, fizzy drinks, sports and energy drinks, sachet drinks, cordials, and iced teas and coffees.

  • Buy fewer and fewer sugary drinks each week until you no longer buy any.

  • Make your home and school sugary drink free.

What we do at Toi Te Ora Public Health

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Toi Te Ora Public Health has developed a briefing paper which describes our role in helping to ensure that every child in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts grows up in a food environment which enables them to be a healthy weight throughout their lives.

A technical report is also available which provides an analysis of body size of four-year-olds in the population of the Bay Plenty and Lakes District Health Board areas using data from the B4 School Check programme.

In addition, Toi Te Ora Public Health's Drinks in Schools report is available to view, which gathers a snapshot of the availability of sugary drinks in schools and kura in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Board areas.

In the media

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Childhood nutrition and wellbeing is a topical issue in our community.  Here is a selection of local stories sharing what is happening in our community to encourage healthy lifestyles for children: