Health Matters EBOP September 2016

Eastern Bay Edition - September 2016 Sideline - fizzy drink free zone As we head into the Junior Touch season in the Bay of Plenty, one of the biggest league’s YMCA Tauranga, has issued a challenge to others to get rid of fizzy drinks for sale on the sideline. Touch is one of the most popular summer sports children participate in across the region. Above and left: Auckland based health students working on a patient in a mock rural emergency. A group of student health professionals has been given a taste of what it’s like to work in rural areas, spending a weekend in the Eastern Bay. Thirty Auckland based students training in medicine, nursing, social work, and podiatry, stayed at Puwairua marae, took a tour of Whakatāne Hospital and were put through their paces in a mock rural emergency situation with local St John crews. The ‘Grassroots’ weekend was organised by the Whakatāne Rural Health Interprofessional Programme (RHIP), a student placement joint initiative between the Bay of Plenty DHB Clinical School and the University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology and Waiariki Institute of Technology. The programme, launched in Whakatāne Students get back to Grassroots in the Eastern Bay in 2013, aims to improve the recruitment and retention of our doctors, nurses and other health professionals in rural New Zealand. The programme is also run in Gisborne. The students also had the opportunity of enjoying some of the Eastern Bay’s great outdoors including kayaking on Ohiwa harbour and visiting the Awakeri Hot pools. It’s the second time Academic Coordinator, Yvonne Boyes has run the Grassroots weekend. She says for some students being exposed to life in a rural town was quite a contrast to their lives in Auckland. And some expressed an interest in returning to the region in their final year of medicine to experience more of the Eastern Bay. In the YMCA Tauranga league alone, which covers Tauranga South, around 600 children from Under 7 to Under 14 played touch last season. Hayden Mason who organises it expects the numbers to be similar this year. He says it’s awesome to see the numbers of kids playing, getting exercise and there is simply no need to load up with fizzy drink after the game. “I just tell the kids to bring a drink bottle, and I point them in the direction of a tap,” says Hayden. The average can of fizzy drink contains six or more teaspoons of sugar. The World Health Organisation guidelines recommend that a child should have no more than about three or four teaspoons of sugar per day. YMCA drink bottles are on hand as prizes at Touch games, another incentive to drink water. YMCA Tauranga is challenging Touch Associations to stop the sale of fizzy drinks at games this season. Aside from organising Touch, Hayden works with kids in the YMCA’s after school programme. YMCA Tauranga is part of the Tauranga Activity & Nutrition Group, a network of organisations and businesses working together to promote healthy eating and activity in our communities. “You really notice the difference in children who you see regularly, if they’ve had sweet treats at school that day. They come in wired, bouncing off the wall. They’re not bad children, but you notice their behaviour has changed.” New Zealand has one of the highest levels of childhood obesity amongst OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Last year a Childhood Obesity Prevention Plan was launched with numerous initiatives involving various organisations and community groups to stem the tide of obesity. Let’s Kick Butt Together For some, quitting smoking for a month doesn’t seem as daunting as going cold turkey. The good news is, if you can make it through that first month, you are more likely to stay smokefree. “There are many benefits to becoming smokefree,” says Alice Walker, Health Improvement Advisor at Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service. “In the first month alone you should notice your breathing is easier, your sense of smell and taste has improved and your blood pressure and heart rate will also be lower,” says Alice. By joining the online Stoptober challenge participants will receive regular motivational messages to help them stay on track. There is also the option to register a support crew who will receive tips on how to encourage those on their quit journey with some great prizes on offer. “Having support is essential for success,” says Alice. “It’s important to get the right help, and recruit your friends and family to help you stay strong.” The YMCA, which runs numerous after school and holiday programmes has, amongst other initiatives, taken a closer look at what food is provided to children and has increased fruit and vegetable options. It also provides healthy option cooking classes. Next year YMCA Tauranga is set to host the National Youth Development Camp and healthy eating and activity will be the focus. Stoptober encourages people to kick the butt for the month of October. “The first few weeks of stopping smoking are often tough. However, being aware of triggers and avoiding these can make a big difference. Create a smokefree environment in your home and in your car, and ask others not to smoke around you,” says Alice. “Contact Quitline or a local smokefree support service to help develop a plan and get the right support for your needs.” If you or someone you know would like to give quitting a go this Stoptober, register at Quitting smoking for a month is always easier in groups, so get your friends and family together and give it a go this October! See how much better you feel after a month without cigarettes! For additional faceto-face support across both Eastern and Western Bay