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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, September 26, 2016

NZ - Healthy Habits Aotearoa group to focus on positive solutions to health problems

Sara Cooper is a member of Healthy Habits Aotearoa, promoting health through reinforcing positive habits like brushing ...Sara Cooper is a member of Healthy Habits Aotearoa, promoting health through reinforcing positive habits like brushing teeth. Her son Will Cooper demonstrates his teeth brushing skills.

A grassroots organisation is forming in Nelson to combat the rising rates of tooth decay and obesity in children. 
Healthy Habits Aotearoa has been started by a group of people who believe that working with children to reinforce positive habits will help to address a range of health problems. 
Healthy Habits Aotearoa board chair Trevor Lawrence said that concerns over the potential water fluoridation in the region had sparked the group's formation.
The Fluoride Free Nelson group was evolving to become Healthy Habits Aotearoa as Lawrence said they wanted to be part of an effective solution to address the issue of tooth decay. Lawrence used to work as a psychotherapist and said as a grandparent, he now had more time on his hands. He said the Childsmile programme implemented in Scotland to combat rising rates of tooth decay was an example of how focusing on habits could improve health outcomes. 
Starting at pre-school age, children had supervised tooth brushing sessions and were given dental care packs to practice at home. There were also a range of preventative care interventions for children who were at increased risk of dental disease. Lawrence said the group were keen to recruit volunteers and implement some of the same techniques here. 
While Healthy Habits Aotearoa was still in its inception phase, one of the first initiatives would be to work with the breakfast club at Victory School to demonstrate tooth brushing and hand washing. The aim was then to expand out into other schools. "It's not about inventing the wheel, it's about working with what is already there," Lawrence said. "It's about being proactive and preventative."
Healthy Habits Aotearoa member Sara Cooper said a focus on educating children with health, hygiene, nutrition and fitness habits would not only improve rates of tooth decay, but it would also address other health issues like obesity and diabetes. 
With a background in fitness and exercise science, she said it was important that people took ownership for their health and she was keen to be part of a solution in the region. 
"There is a need to protect the water that flows into our homes, that will always be necessary," she said. "We also have a very real need for a solution to our vast array of health issues. 
Hampden Street School principal Don McLean said he thought that demonstrating tooth brushing in schools was a good idea. When he became principal at Hampden Street nine years ago, the school had a dental clinic, and the dental nurses used to do teeth brushing demonstrations for the students which had been very successful.
He said now the kids had to visit a centralised dental clinic with their parents they were no longer given the same assistance. 
"All our kids would benefit from learning how to brush their teeth properly because kids don't know how to do that, they don't have the dexterity when they are young enough to do it properly so they need to learn how to do it properly."
He said it was important to demonstrate to kids and send the message home but parents needed to be encouraged and reminded that they had a role to play too.
"At the end of the day it should be parents who say to their kids, go and brush your teeth before you go to bed."
Healthy Habits Aotearoa are holding an event, Hear the Solution and Vote 2016 on Friday September 30, 6pm at 107 Nile St, Nelson for those who want learn more about the organisation. 
 - Stuff


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