Mo-ti­vated Mark clips lush up­per-lip growth for cause

Man­u­fac­tur­ers say con­sumers’ wish to eat health­ier is al­ready driv­ing change

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Amy Wig­gins

Food and drink mak­ers say they are al­ready work­ing hard to of­fer New Zealan­ders health­ier food choices. The state­ment fol­lows Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern’s warn­ing that the in­dus­try needs to cut down on sugar and salt in prod­ucts and that “all op­tions are on the ta­ble”, in­clud­ing a sug­ary drinks tax.

Ardern yes­ter­day re­it­er­ated new Health Min­is­ter David Clark’s po­si­tion in not rul­ing out reg­u­la­tion or a tax.

“In­dus­try should know we are pretty se­ri­ous about mak­ing sure this is dealt with,” Ardern told New­stalk ZB. “We know we have got a prob­lem. And I think peo­ple would be sur­prised by how much sugar is be­ing placed in ev­ery­day items.”

Ardern said a sug­ary drinks tax Los­ing three col­leagues to sui­cide and his dad to cancer mo­ti­vates Mark Hill-Ren­nie to get rid of his sig­na­ture mous­tache ev­ery Novem­ber.

Blokes all around the world will be­gin to sport a hairy top lip as Movember kicks off again to­mor­row in an ef­fort to raise aware­ness about men’s health is­sues.

As oth­ers work on grow­ing theirs out, Hill-Ren­nie will get rid of his mous­tache so he can start afresh.

This will be the 10th year in a row ANZ’s regional busi­ness bank­ing man­ager for Auck­land East has shaved off his mous­tache for the cause.

“By do­ing this I’m rais­ing aware­ness for some pretty im­por­tant is­sues like men­tal health,” he said.

It was a cause close to his heart af­ter at­tend­ing the fu­ner­als of three col­leagues who had taken their own lives in re­cent years.

“That gives me an in­cen­tive to keep go­ing with it. On the cancer side, you just see so many men and women im­pacted by it, in­clud­ing my fa­ther who passed away from it.”

While it was nei­ther tes­tic­u­lar nor prostate cancer which claimed his fa­ther’s life, it showed how much of an im­pact it had on fam­i­lies, he said. “It does just raise your aware-

HWatch video at nzher­ was not the only an­swer, given the high sugar con­tent across other pro­cessed foods.

“We want to work with in­dus­try to try and get that rate of use down. Try and en­cour­age in­dus­try to do that them­selves. But we are leav­ing all op­tions on the ta­ble.

“We are mak­ing sure we use some of the op­tions that still ex­ist be­fore con­sid­er­ing a sug­ary drinks tax. There are ex­am­ples in the UK where they got salt down dra­mat­i­cally by work­ing along­side in­dus­try. We ness around the whole thing.”

Hill-Ren­nie said his chil­dren had never known him without a mous­tache and hated it when it came off ev­ery year.

“It’s get­ting greyer and greyer ev­ery year,” he said. “I do get some nice com­ments like, ‘It makes you look miles younger’. It will come back on again.”

Over the years he has raised more than $18,400 for the Movember Foun­da­tion, with $1120 of that this year al­ready. His target this time is to raise $5000.

All funds raised will go to­wards pro­grammes fo­cused on prostate cancer, tes­tic­u­lar cancer and male men­tal health.

Movember’s New Zealand man­ager, Robert Dunne, said should make use of those op­tions.”

But the New Zealand Food & Gro­cery Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Katherine Rich, says mem­bers are guided by con­sumers’ choices and are al­ready re­for­mu­lat­ing prod­ucts and de­vel­op­ing new ones to re­flect an ap­petite for health­ier foods.

“The No 1 con­sumer trend over the past five years has been for food and drinks that are lower in salt, fat or sugar, or in a ‘bet­ter for you’ cat­e­gory.

“There are more low- or no-sugar prod­ucts on the mar­ket now than at any time in New Zealand’s his­tory, and the work con­tin­ues, with sug­arreduc­tion pro­grammes for cur­rent prod­ucts and new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment.”

She said the coun­cil looked for­ward to shar­ing its success sto­ries with the new Gov­ern­ment.

“The re­for­mu­la­tion work has not just been for sugar. In the breakfast ce­real and bread cat­e­gories there have also been sig­nif­i­cant Mark Hill-Ren­nie is do­ing Movember a 10th time — back­wards. He has a mous­tache and shaves it off. ev­ery bit of sup­port helped stop men suf­fer­ing in si­lence. One in two Ki­wis would ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal-health prob­lem, while three in four sui­cides were men, he said.

Glob­ally, a man is lost to sui­cide ev­ery minute. In New Zealand, one man takes his life ev­ery day on av­er­age.

“When it comes to their health, too many men don’t talk, don’t take ac­tion and die too young,” Dunne said.

“The pro­grammes and projects Movember funds and de­liv­ers are aimed at help­ing build a so­ci­ety where men are liv­ing long, qual­ity lives . . .”

He urged men to “grow a mo to save a bro”. Mo Sis­tas could also take part through Move, which in­volved get­ting phys­i­cally ac­tive to raise funds to sup­port their men. Go to the Movember Foun­da­tion web­site to sign up or to sup­port some­one. re­duc­tions in sodium.”

Clark ear­lier said his pref­er­ence was to work with the in­dus­try to de­velop a bet­ter front-of-pack la­belling sys­tem, and to set firm goals to re­duce sugar con­tent in pack­aged food.

Clark said there was “grow­ing ev­i­dence” of the ef­fec­tive­ness of a sug­ary drink tax, but such a step wasn’t a sil­ver bullet be­cause it was fo­cused only on drinks.

“I want to talk with in­dus­try first be­fore go­ing down any track like that.”

One likely change will be to la­belling on food pack­ag­ing. At present there is a Health Star Rat­ing Sys­tem that is meant to sig­nal health­i­ness by the num­ber of stars on the packet.

Clark be­lieves there is a flaw in the vol­un­tary sys­tem, in which man­u­fac­tur­ers can “can­cel out” the effect added sugar and other un­healthy in­gre­di­ents have on a star rat­ing if the prod­uct con­tains health­ier in­gre­di­ents such as grains.

But Rich said the Food & Gro­cery Coun­cil hoped the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries would brief Clark on how the Health Star al­go­rithm works.

“Ad­vice that he’s re­ceived, that the sys­tem ‘can­cels out’ sugar, is not cor­rect. In fact, it’s harsh on sugar con­tent. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that some prod­ucts will con­tinue to have a higher sugar rat­ing, par­tic­u­larly when they con­tain fruit or honey.”

Pro­fes­sor of Pop­u­la­tion Nutri­tion and Global Health at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land Boyd Swin­burn said Labour was right not to rule out tough ac­tion in­clud­ing a sug­ary drinks tax.

“It is ac­tu­ally very re­fresh­ing to see a Gov­ern­ment that is pre­pared to look at the ev­i­dence and look at ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that’s on the ta­ble that’s been rec­om­mended,” Swin­burn said. “So this is a breath of fresh air.”

David Clark Katherine Rich

Pic­ture / Ja­son Ox­en­ham

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