It does not matter a "hoot" that a new healthy eating
programme is behind schedule, because it is a "very
inappropriate programme", University of Otago nutrition and
diabetes expert Prof Jim Mann says.
Prof Mann is at loggerheads with the Government over
nutrition public health policy, which is being reoriented to
focus on pregnant women and infants. Prof Mann said this was
not an evidence-based approach to combating diabetes and
The new regime replaces the axed Healthy Eating Healthy
Action (HEHA) programme.
Funds would now be contestable, rather than distributed
through district health boards.
It would focus on maternal and child nutrition and physical
activity, while HEHA had a broader focus on combating
Calls for tender were supposed to be issued from last month.
Ministry of Health national services purchasing director Jill
Lane said the ministry was still working on the project, and
over the "coming months" requests for proposals would be
Ms Lane said, via a spokesman, the prime minister's chief
science adviser, Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, had advised that
since preconditions for obesity were set very early, maternal
and newborn nutrition was the best long-term investment.
Prof Mann said none of the people he would expect were
consulted about the new programme, including the national
diabetes service improvement group, of which he is a member.
Decisions had come from "on high", and there had been no
"It does not matter a hoot that it's delayed," he said.
Prof Mann has had a strong reaction from members of the
public to criticisms of the Government's nutrition policy he
made at this month's World Diabetes Day in Dunedin. Many
members of the public had approached him since with their
messages of support for his stance, he said.
Funding for HEHA programmes ended on June 30.