Government must fix Maori obesity: researchers

Another article published in the Granny Herald which perpetuates the myth that all ills that befall Maori are the fault of the wicked white colonialists.
Really?
Seriously?
When are people going to stop being taken in by these accusations? You cannot judge the past by today’s standards. Things, life, was a whole lot different back then (1840 and the colonising years after 1840). Especially for Maori.
My comments, in italics, continue below in the article:
Government must fix Maori obesity: researchers
By Martin Johnston

Photo / Thinkstock Photo / Thinkstock
The legacy of colonisation has predisposed Maori to having much higher rates of obesity than the total New Zealand population (how exactly? They never tell us how these things have had the effect they claim. They just make claims and idiots believe them) and the Government must do much more to address this inequity, a group of Otago University researchers say.
Citing the 2008/09 Adult Nutrition Survey, they say nearly half of Maori were obese.
The same survey found that 28 per cent of the total population were obese – and nearly 60 per cent of Pasifika.
“Since European settlement and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Maori have been disadvantaged as a consequence of colonisation and repeated breaches of the Treaty …,” (again – how and where is the proof?) the researchers, Drs Reremoana Theodore, Rachael McLean and Lisa Te Morenga, say today in an commentary piece in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
“Loss of land resulted in high levels of poverty and loss of access to traditional food sources for many Maori. The Maori experience, which has been mirrored by many other indigenous groups, has resulted in: wide-scale migration into urban centres; increased consumption of cheap processed foods high in fat and sugar; reduced physical activity levels; and rising rates of obesity and cardiovascular diseases.”
(loss of traditional food sources occurred because they eat them to extinction, not because of loss of land, and the land was not ‘lost’, it was sold by the chiefs who were happy for a quick buck. They land was not making them any money before they sold it! Traditional food sources for Maori – NZ has no native land mammals, so their diet consisted of seafood, birds and plants, mostly fern and kumera before the colonialists introduced other vegetables. No one stopped them going fishing, or gathering shell fish. They could still grow their own vegetables. They had hunted and eaten most edible sized birds to extinction before the Treaty was signed – so what traditional food sources did they lose access to exactly? If life in their traditional villages was so wonderful, why did they migrate to the urban centres? Cheap processed foods with high fat and sugar are relatively new in New Zealand. They certainly weren’t around in the 1800s or early 1900s, so how can you blame colonisation for Maori eating them? No one is making them eat them. No one is forcing them. It’s not just cheap processed foods either – what about their famous ‘boil-ups’ which are full of grease? No one is forcing them to be less active. They are victims of their own poor decision making, not of colonisation!)
They add that Maori tended to be channelled into working-class jobs until the 1970s and were later affected disproportionately, compared with Europeans, by structural economic changes that were accompanied by higher levels of unemployment.
(“Channelled”? Given the level of educational achievement of most Maori at that time, working-class jobs was probably all they could get. Saying that they were “channelled” is an emotive attempt at blaming the colonialists, once again, for the under achievement of Maori. Well educated Maori made much more of themselves and included some great and well known policitians such as Apiarata Ngata, long before the 1970s.)
They urge a focus on the “historically driven social determinants of obesity” to avoid blaming Maori – and their choices – for their own ill health. (of course – can’t have them taking any responsibility for themselves and their choices can we? noooo, blame the nasty colonialists and the Crown and make them pay to fix the problem, like they always do.)
The researchers lament the demise of Health Eating-Health Action and its associated anti-obesity programmes. They also support the current Government’s Whanau Ora and Healthy Families NZ schemes as a “starting point for addressing obesity”, but say much more must be done and that the Government has a treaty responsibility to work in partnership with Maori to and to ensure Maori health equity. (The Treaty is NOT a partnership agreement and if there is an article in the Treaty which makes the Government responsible for the health of Maori, then it must be still lost somewhere because having read the Treaty many times I’ve still not found it!)
“A key issue, however, with Healthy Families NZ is that it focuses on educating people … to make better choices. Evidence increasingly suggests that interventions that rely on individual agency may actually increase socioeconomic inequalities in obesity.”
The policies they propose are in line with those of public health researchers who call for sugar and fat taxes and regulations to control the marketing of unhealthy food and drink to children – ideas repeatedly rejected by the Government. (rejected for good reason – why make everyone pay for the bad choices of a few?)
The Health Ministry, in response to the article, told Radio New Zealand that the creation of the Healthy Families NZ scheme in 10 locations was intended to encourage families to choose healthy foods, be physically active, maintain a healthy weight, not to smoke and to drink only moderate amounts of alcohol. The scheme was part of the Government’s approach to promoting good health.

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