The Ministry of Health has called for tenders for a
controversial new healthy eating initiative.
The $3 million programme replaces Labour's Healthy Eating
Healthy Action, which was axed in the middle of this year. A
request for proposal on the Government's contracts website
said the ministry wanted to target obesity through improving
maternal and child health. Interested parties were invited to
devise projects focused on women's health during pregnancy
and the postnatal period; promoting healthy feeding for
babies, including breast-feeding; and nutrition and exercise
The ministry said it was changing the way it looked at, and
funded, obesity-prevention initiatives.
''Over the next three years, the ministry will be working to
ensure current public health programmes are better targeted
as well as identifying and investing in opportunities to
improve efficiency and impact, by doing things differently,''
the request for proposal document said.
Funding for the scheme would run from about March next year,
when programmes began, until June 2015.
The ministry said recent international evidence, and advice
from Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, suggested the preconditions for
obesity were set very early.
Labour health spokeswoman MP Maryan Street said the ''little
community-based projects'' such as free exercise sessions and
vegetable gardens in schools were the casualties of the
ministry's new approach.
The scheme ignored diabetes, which was a lost opportunity for
the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, a disease ''inherently
linked'' with obesity.
The focus on maternal health and young children must be
expanded into a comprehensive strategy to combat the huge
challenges of obesity and diabetes, she said.
Unlike Heha, for which funds were distributed through
district health boards, the new scheme is contestable by
DHBs, primary health organisations and non-government
Proposals involving partnerships with the private sector were
encouraged, as were proposals with a regional or national
The anticipated minimum cost of each approved scheme was
The $3 million fund did not include GST.
A Southern District Health Board spokesman said the DHB had
not decided whether to tender for a project.