Professor Tony Blakely
I was in Brisbane this week, teaching epidemiological methods to improve the quality and causal inference of our research – more of that below. During the week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcast a documentary supposedly debunking the science on the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.
One of the criticisms leveled on the programme went right back to original research by Ancel Keys in the Seven Countries studies post World War II showing a strong correlation between the rates of cardiovascular death in countries with saturated fat intake. The criticism? When you put more than just the seven studies on a graph, the correlation looks weaker. Fair enough, as such ‘ecologic’ studies are prone to error – but of course they are also prone to missing important associations as well, such as the association of saturated fat with heart disease. Continue reading
Associate Professor Nick Wilson
New Zealand still has a problem with the use of mobile phones while driving, even though a recent law may have helped somewhat. This blog discusses recent research and suggest ways to make further progress on reducing this persisting hazard.
Professor Tony Blakely
Professor Tony Blakely and Assoc Professor Nick Wilson
The New Zealand Government has a goal of a Smokefree Nation by 2025, often interpreted as a smoking prevalence of less than 5% by 2025. This should be a major focus of the New Zealand contingent at the Smokefree Oceania Conference in Auckland next week. But what would it take in the way of reductions in uptake (or initiation), and/or increases in cessation rates, to achieve this goal?
We try to answer this question in a paper just published in the international journal Tobacco Control, led by Tak Ikeda and a presentation that he will also give at the conference next week. The answer differs by ethnicity. Essentially, 10% of non-Māori smokers need to quit each year to achieve 5% smoking prevalence by 2025 for non-Māori. And 20% for Māori. We concluded that changes in initiation rates are not as important as changes in cessation rates to achieve the 2025 goal.
Dr Ben Gray, General Practitioner, Primary Health Care & General Practice Department, University of Otago, Wellington
Dr Ben Gray
Advance Care Planning (or ACP) is the process of thinking about, talking about and planning for future health care and end of life care. In its delivery, this seems a very clinically focussed, individual health care process, so what relevance has it got for Public Health?
Actually a lot. We know that we spend around seven times more in the last year of life than the average spent in all other years of a patient’s life (2). This problem will be exacerbated as the baby boomers die.
Professors Tony Blakely, Cliona Ni Mhurchu and Nick Wilson
Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu
Research teams we lead have published two papers in the last few weeks on food taxes and subsidies – both of which depend on what are called price elasticities. Timely, in light of the launch last week of Appetite for Destruction that is focusing public attention on our food environment, including taxes and subsidies on food. Continue reading