Unhealthy Food

Unhealthy diet and excess body weight are responsible for 18 percent of premature death and disability in New Zealand.
Food insecurity is affecting 20 percent of children.

Aotearoa can be a country where everyone has a diet that fuels their growth, learning, wellbeing and protects against disease. 

Unfortunately, our eating environments are dominated by unhealthy food and drink as effective regulations to provide good information and promote health remain largely inadequate.

Unhealthy diet and excess body fat are major risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers.

Our screens, outdoor spaces, sports and events are flooded with a stream of advertising for unhealthy food and drink. 

Food insecurity is a growing problem. Nutritional deprivation in children affects growth and development, and results in learning difficulties, poor oral health and weakened immunity. 

The health of low income, Māori and Pacific whānau is disproportionately harmed by food insecurity and unhealthy food environments. 

HCA is advocating to achieve healthy food environments to improve health equity and protect our food supply from the impacts of climate change.

See our recent detailed recommendations to the Government here and here

Read our response to the Public Health Advisory Committee (PHAC) report released by the Ministry of Health here.

Key facts

Where should we be heading?

Experts in nutrition and health have identified targets and minimum standards needed to improve health and our food environments. 

New Zealand is not on track to achieve these.



Making our food environment healthy

These actions are urgently needed to get New Zealand on track:

HCA advocacy on unhealthy food environments is informed by a Food Policy Expert Advisory Panel  whose members are leaders in food environments and nutrition.

For more information on healthy eating and nutrition research visit: Cancer Society NZ, Diabetes NZDIETEdgar Diabetes & Obesity ResearchHeart Foundation and Aotearoa’s Food Environment Dashboard