The senior doctors’ association is naïve in thinking any government can pass laws that will make people brush their teeth or eat less, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

She is responding to calls by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists for the Government to urgently reverse a decision that allows the food industry to self-regulate efforts to tackle obesity.

The doctors said in a statement:  ‘The Association abhors the failure of the Minister of Health to regulate the food industry and calls on him to immediately pass regulations that will prevent dental caries and obesity, and their lifelong harm to the health of New Zealanders’.

“Like most New Zealanders, I have the utmost respect for doctors,” says Mrs Rich.

“Most of them do understand that obesity is a complex health issue.

“But the association doesn’t know what it’s talking about in its statement.

“Food production in New Zealand is subject to strong food laws and advertising rules. It’s not a self-regulated industry.

“The association is naïve in thinking any government can pass laws that will make people brush their teeth and eat less. What regulations are they calling for? Compulsory jogging and banning ice cream?

“This sounds like policies for North Korea, not New Zealand.

“The food industry is playing its part to improve health through educating people, changing the recipes of foods, and encouraging people to get out and get more exercise.

“The industry is also producing more low- and no-sugar food and beverage options now than ever, and sales of these products are growing.

“We’re seeing more and more reduced sugar food and beverage launched every month, and there are now more than 5000 products carrying the Health Star Rating, with 1000 extra since March this year.”

Read the association’s statement here

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