Diet therapy

Minimising earthquake damage to your health

Prior to the earthquakes on September 4, Boxing Day and now February 22nd did you have any health goals? Do you have any now? Everything changed in an instant when the earthquakes struck. The fear and uncertainty that follows such a traumatic event is normal and everyone reacts to it differently. Everyone has their own stories to tell. The next couple of years will come and go for most of us but in that time what will the cost of this earthquake be on your health?


Did you experience any of the following fallouts?

  • Loss of appetite as anxiety set in many people skipped meals as the search for loved ones took priority
  • Disruption to routines of work and school meant more grazing, meals on the run and gifts of “comfort foods” from friends and neighbours.
  • Loss of power and water altered food preparation and fat increased as the baking came out along with the barbeques and a lot more meat. Power cuts also meant some freezers thawed leaving families with more ice-cream etc to eat than normal.
  • Water intake dropped. Having to boil water for a few days resulted in our fluid intakes slipping although this may have been replaced by more alcohol as some reached for something to help them relax.
  • Vegetable intakes declined. Having to use sterilized water to wash fruits and vegetables resulted in less dietary fibre being eaten.
  • Exercise routines changed. While many people manned shovels to help with the movement of silt others found exercise harder. Many people were fearful of walking outside, there was closures of gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and golf clubs. There were more young children home from school to mind, and everyone felt tired. All of which meant that exercise was easier to put onto “the back burner”.
  • Lack of sleep. The many after shocks have disrupted peoples sleep. Children waking frightened in the night and some families sleeping together has meant that many have become tired and grumpy. As sleep is disturbed so too are the hormones controlling appetite making it easier to reach for those extra “treat” foods that normally you wouldn’t buy.

    Now 4 years on how are you feeling? While some people have left town, many have  rebuilt their houses and are rebuilding their lives. For others this has not happened and the effects on mental as well as physical health are starting to show.

    If you are keen to have some help to regain your lost energy levels and to assess your diet in order to restore fitness and well- being then contact us today.

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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