04 Feb From individual behaviour strategies to sustainable food systems: Countering the obesity and non communicable diseases epidemic in New Zealand
New Zealand is currently facing an obesity and non communicable diseases (NCDs) epidemic. Recent studies have largely attributed these health issues to insufficient food and low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies. Improving healthy diets requires broader thinking and collaboration, particularly around maintaining sustainable food systems, which signifies a shift from individualistic/behavioural approaches in health promotion. This paper aims to extend solutions addressing increasing rates of obesity and diet-related NCDs in New Zealand while considering diet and human health in concurrence with sustainability. In particular, the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social—will be considered, alongside application of a food systems approach to analysing the epidemic and policy developments in New Zealand. Given its proximity to smaller Pacific islands in the region, New Zealand is in a unique position to work multisectorally and be a leader in considering food system approaches to tackling obesity and NCDs in the Pacific.