What we're aiming to do
The research tells us that there is a growth in 'lifestyle cancers' happening now and that this is likely to get worse in the future. Plus, there's going to be a big growth for Maori and Pacific people so we need to make change. This is because of several factors that influence a range of cancers:
- There is a relationship between obesity, not eating enough fruit and vegetables and being inactive. We need to help people 'get active', eat fruit and veges and keep trim.
- Smoking. We need to stop kids starting and we need to get more of NZ free of cigarettes.
- The sun. We need to get people protected from it.
But it's not as simple as telling people to 'eat better, 'get active, 'quit smoking' and 'wear a hat'. We need to work in a range of areas so it's normal, for example, for school sports events to be held in the mornings, for children to go to their local dairy without seeing rows and rows of cigarettes, for workers to be given good looking and functional workwear that keeps them cool and protected form the sun, for families to be able to buy good, cheap fruit and veges close to home and maybe, one day, milk will cost less than soft drink!
So to help reduce preventable cancers in Auckland and Northland we developed a new strategic plan in 2009 to guide Health Promotion. We have moved away from programme areas of SunSmart, Physical Activity and Nutrition and Tobacco and are now concentrating on working with other organisations so we can encourage 'big picture' changes. For example, We are working to encourage policy changes that help playgrounds, where there a lots of kids everyday, to be smokefree. Because no one wants kids to start smoking or think it's normal to smoke. We are also working with schools to help them develop policies and daily practices that help protect their pupils from the sun and we're working with supermarkets, other health organisations and community organisations to help make fruit and vegetables more attractive and available.
By working on policy development, partnering with other community and commercial organisations and raising issues with community leaders and politicians, we can help improve health for all in Auckland and Northland.
The plan is based on the following key objectives.
Long term change
Making change that endures and is sustainable is a key aspect of the strategy. We are working to make change in regional policies, approaches and community settings that help reduce the conditions that lead to preventable cancers.
Evidence based and best practice
The plan has been developed using the latest health promotion research and practice shown to be effective in creating enduring and sustainable change. We combine this with a focus on equity and also utilise the domains of consumer behaviour, marketing & community psychology.
Integrating the programmes together
The plan moves away from a ‘programme focused’ approach of tobacco, sun smart and physical activity/nutrition to an integrated approach offering a ‘package’ of support in policy development, strategy, brokering and advocacy.
A key approach in the plan is to use the high trust that the Cancer Society has and the extensive networks of the team, to join organisations together to combine and target resources where we can make wide spread change - efficiently.