The High Burden from Mental Health Disorders – but also an Opportunity for Cost-Effective Interventions

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 | Nick Wilson | No Comments

Assoc Prof Nick Wilson

Two new studies published today in the Lancet, highlight that mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide (Whiteford et al; Degenhardt et al). These two studies are a valuable contribution to knowledge about health problems and come from a massive international research project. The results should help guide policymakers around the world in taking the cost-effective steps needed to prevent and treat the high health burden from mental and substance use disorders.

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Can earthquakes be good for public health?

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | 2 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson

There is no doubt that earthquakes have historically had a terrible impact on human populations – and the shocking damage to Christchurch and its citizens in 2011 is still very much in the minds of New Zealanders. But living in shaky Wellington, makes one regularly wonder what might be the potential long-term benefits of earthquakes for public health. So here are a few examples relating to urban design and building design, disaster preparedness, and increased use of stairs over lifts. Continue reading

“100% Pure” – Public Health Goal Setting

Thursday, August 15th, 2013 | gibju57p | 2 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago, Wellington


The “100% Pure” marketing of NZ is marketing hype and an easy target for UK tabloid journalists (see this NZ Herald piece). Nevertheless, there is a case for striving to achieve the “100% level” with certain threats to public health – for example, by achieving Smokefree New Zealand by 2025. Continue reading

A major new study on Kiwi health –can it inform decision-making?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 | TONY BLAKELY | No Comments

(This story has also been covered by Radio NZ (3’12”)  and TVNZ (4’09”).)

Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson

The Ministry of Health has just released a major new burden of disease study for 2006, a culmination of a large epidemiological stocktake for New Zealand.

The study highlights changes in New Zealand, e.g. diet is emerging as the major modifiable risk factor with respect to disease burden.  It also raises questions as to how useful a burden of disease study is for prioritisation of public health activity.  We address these two issues in turn in this blog. Continue reading