WDHB board members get behind Switch to Water campaign

24 October 2017 

They know it’s not going to be easy, but Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) board members Stuart Hylton and Dame Tariana Turia are committed to drinking water only to support next month’s Switch to Water campaign.

The New Zealand Dental Association is challenging the public to drink water only, for 30 days in November, in the hope it will encourage participants to carry on doing so once the challenge ends.

Mr Hylton and Dame Tariana are strong supporters of any effort to discourage Whanganui residents from consuming sugary drinks – and particularly children. They say anything that will help cut the level of decay in the teeth of Whanganui residents is a good move.

“Our children have one of the highest levels of tooth decay in New Zealand so to see adults rejecting sugary drinks in favour of drinking water only, sets a very good example for them to follow,” Dame Tariana says.

“I was delighted to be asked to spearhead the WDHB’s support for the Switch to Water campaign which runs from Wednesday 1 November through to Thursday 30 November.”

WDHB deputy chair Mr Hylton says given that WDHB board chair Dot McKinnon took on the challenge in 2015, he feels it’s only right that he steps up and takes it on this year. “I like the fact that we are encouraging people to drink water - a natural resource that is readily and freely available to all via our taps.”

In his role as chair of the WDHB’s combined committees he leads regular discussions around tooth decay, how it impacts on the health and wellbeing of children and adults who need to have teeth removed, and the costs involved for them and the DHB.   

Due to popular request, those interested in joining the 30-day challenge can register by emailing register@nzda.org.nzThis will give participants a weekly email reminding them about the challenge and some tips/information to help them along the way.

Mr Hylton and Dame Tariana have suggested it might be fun for classrooms of children, businesses, work colleagues and groups of friends to sign up for the challenge.

For further media comment please contact WDHB communications manager Sue Campion on 021 246 8126 or 06 348 3170.