Good news on declining smoking rates, especially for Māori. Is it credible? What next?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 | Nick Wilson | 3 Comments


Professor Tony Blakely, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

Smoking rates have fallen in the 2013 Census compared to the 2006 Census (from 20.7% to 15.1% in adults aged 15+). The results generally fit with other evidence and are good news for health in NZ. And late today Tariana Turia has announced that rates for Māori have fallen nearly 10 percentage points from 2006 to 2013, or from 42.2% to 32.7%.  Which is fantastic news.

This blog considers the results in more detail (for all ethnic groups combined, as Māori data is not yet on the Statistics NZ website), and asks what else could be done to accelerate progress towards a smokefree nation.

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Is NZ a Laggard in Responding to Climate Change?: Results of a Global Index

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment


Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Dr Nisha Nair

The 2014 edition of the “Climate Change Performance Index” has just been released by Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch. Basically, the index uses set criteria to assess and rank the climate change response of 58 countries (collectively responsible for more than 90 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions). Its sources include data from the International Energy Agency and the UN Environment Programme, as well as help from 250+ energy and climate experts internationally. By this measure, NZ ranks in the bottom half of the OECD for responding to the climate change problem. This blog post looks at some of the details and considers what NZ could be aiming for if it is to be a responsible “international citizen” in terms of the global environment and global health.

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Lessons From History: Helping New Zealand Prepare for Future Influenza Pandemics

Friday, November 29th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | No Comments


Associate Professor Nick Wilson and Professor Michael Baker

Crowding on this NZ troopship (the Tahiti) may have contributed to a particularly severe outbreak during the 1918 influenza pandemic

Flu pandemics are important but relatively rare so the lessons learned from such events may not be available when they are most needed. This is where historical research can help. Here we reflect on some lessons that could be learnt from the 1918 influenza pandemic – building on a presentation we are presenting today at a Victoria University based conference on World War One [1].

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Physical activity or nutrition interventions: which can improve population health the most and save the most health dollars?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment


Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson

We gave a presentation to Members of Parliament last week on taxes and subsidies on food, the pros and cons (slides here). In this blogpost we go into some extra detail on how such nutritional interventions compare to physical activity ones – in terms of health gain and potential for cost savings to the health system. Continue reading

NZ compares well with other OECD countries in health & other areas: But scope for improvements

Friday, November 15th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment


Assoc Prof Nick Wilson and Dr Nisha Nair

NZ compares favourably with other OECD countries in many ways – according to the just released results of the OECD’s “Better Life Index”. This blog considers some of the details and also various ways we could make further improvements in health, safety and the environment.

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