Front-of-pack nutrition labels improve understanding but don’t improve healthy food choices; Starlight Trial just published

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Health Star Rating and Traffic Light nutrition labels have a minor impact on New Zealand consumer healthy food choices, according to a randomised trial just published from our HRC-funded DIET Programme based at the University of Auckland. This is important evidence for policy. We had expected that these simple, visual front of package labels would have more effect on healthy food purchasing choices, but the contrary findings are why randomised trials are important. In this blog we discuss our findings, strengths and weaknesses of the study, and implications of the results.

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Improving New Zealand’s preparations for the next pandemic

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Dr Julia Scott, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker

In a globalised world an infectious disease outbreak anywhere is a potential threat to New Zealand (NZ). Recent such threats have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza (2009), Ebola and Zika. In the context of an upcoming University of Otago, Wellington Public Health Summer School symposium on the topic of emerging infectious diseases, this blog discusses how NZ could ensure it is better prepared in this public health domain.

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The Brits are doing it: likely health benefits from a levy on soft drinks

Friday, December 16th, 2016 | TONY BLAKELY | No Comments

Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Dr Linda Cobiac

A study published today finds that the UK soft drink levy being introduced in 2017 is likely to benefit health (reduced obesity, diabetes and dental caries) – when considering a range of different Drinks Industry responses. In this Blog we comment on these results and the possible implications for countries like New Zealand.

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Casting a long shadow: Infection drives stomach cancer inequalities in Māori and Pacific peoples

Monday, November 28th, 2016 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Dr Andrea Teng, Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Diana Sarfati

In this Blog we discuss our recently published study that shows that infection from the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is the major driver of stomach cancer inequalities borne by Māori and Pacific peoples in NZ. We also discuss a possible next step which could be for one DHB to pilot a ‘test and treat’ screening programme that seems likely to help reduce such inequalities.

H.pylori blog picture 1H.pylori blog picture 2H.pylori blog picture 3

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Potential health co-benefits from eradicating rats, stoats and possums in NZ towns and cities

Monday, November 7th, 2016 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Mary McIntyre, Dr Osman D Mansoor, Dr Paul Blaschke, Prof Michael Baker

predator-free blogThe eradication of some introduced pests such as rats, stoats and possums in New Zealand, seems increasingly feasible with a new national 2050 goal and action at the city level eg, Wellington. The primary benefits will be to native birds and enhanced biodiversity, as well as for agriculture (if bovine tuberculosis is eradicated nationally). But what about the spin-offs for public health? This blog starts to explore this issue and provisionally concludes that there are many potential health benefits from the eradication or near-complete control of these pest species.

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