Author:Healthy Auckland Together
Source:Healthy Auckland Together
Welcome to the 2017 Healthy Auckland Together Monitoring Report. This looks at how much the city’s environment contributes to the obesity crisis, in other words, the current state of Auckland’s “obesogenicity”. This report tracks the changes from the baseline established in the 2015 monitoring report.
The city environment affects two of the major determinants of obesity - nutrition and physical activity – through a variety of mechanisms. The profile of obesity in Auckland is changing. There has been a slight improvement in rates of obesity at the B4 School Check over the past four years. However, only 79% of four year olds are a normal weight. In adults, obesity rates continue to rise, from 24% in 2007 to 28% in 2015. There are also large inequities patterned by ethnicity, with Pacific people 2.5-3 times and Maori 1.5-2 times more likely to be obese than NZ Europeans Poor nutrition continues to be a major determinant of health and obesity. The average number of teeth decayed, missing or filled due to caries (a direct indicator of sugar intake) in Auckland five year olds has been static since 2007, with significant ethnic inequities still present in dental disease. The proportion of adults who meet nutritional guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake has not improved since last year’s report.
We are missing opportunities to use movement for health. There has been no progress since last year’s report in the proportion of adults meeting guidelines for physical activity. Active transport makes up 4 percent of all trips to work, a relatively low percentage. Of particular concern is a significant drop since last year’s report, in the number of children using active means of getting to school - most children are driven to school and aren’t getting to build physical activity into their daily routines.
Auckland’s transport system is improving. The number of public transport trips per capita continues to rise, as people get out of their cars and into trains, buses and ferries. There has also been huge growth in expenditure on cycle and walking infrastructure, so we can look forward to more opportunities to be active as we get around the city. This year we’ve included two new indicators about access to open space and perceptions of safety while walking in Auckland. Access to quality open spaces has a positive impact on the use of active transport and participation in physical activity. Safety is a key issue that enables walking to be part of daily life.
Community services that encourage physical activity are expanding their reach. Auckland Transport’s Travelwise and Commute programmes avert 23,000 car trips each weekday, and schools and early childhood centres participating in the Heart Foundation’s programmes are increasing.
The aim of this report is to enable the public, policy makers and key stakeholders to have access to clear information in relation to Auckland’s environment and health outcomes. The annual release of this report also helps provide context over time, highlighting good and bad trends in the prevention of obesity.