Divesting from fossil fuels – is this good for public health?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

Professor Alistair Woodward, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

Divest now 1What does Victoria University have in common with Stanford, the Australian National University and the British Medical Association? They have all decided in the last few months to sell off their interests in fossil fuel companies. In this blog post we briefly explore the arguments around such disinvestment from a public health perspective.

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Possible Strategic Approaches to Achieve the NZ Government’s Smokefree 2025 Goal

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 3 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Richard Edwards, Associate Professor George Thomson, Frederieke S van der Deen, Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Professor Tony Blakely

Smokefree 2025Previously published NZ-based modelling work has explored business-as-usual trends in smoking prevalence, and the potential roles of interventions such as higher regular tobacco tax increases in achieving the NZ Government’s Smokefree Nation 2025 Goal. As best we can model, 10% per annum increases in tobacco tax alone will not be able to achieve the 2025 Goal. In this blog post we outline our favoured package to achieve the 2025 Goal which is ongoing increases in tobacco taxes, intensification of existing evidence-based tobacco control activities and implementation of a major new ‘endgame’ strategy (such as denicotinisation). This package, especially a new endgame strategy, faces political and implementation hurdles that need research, policy analysis and advocacy to overcome.

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Digesting things further: High dietary salt intakes are almost certainly problematic

Friday, November 14th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 3 Comments

Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely, Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Dr Nisha Nair

Too much saltWe recently did a blog post on dietary salt and health, particularly with regard to a new large prospective study (the PURE Study). This facilitated useful feedback from others, along with input from colleagues in a journal club we ran. Based on these discussions, we now have stronger concerns about remaining reverse causation in the PURE Study (and persisting concerns regarding other aspects). Here we update some of our thinking and conclude that the totality of the available evidence is sufficient for health authorities to continue taking a range of evidence-based actions to reduce the hazard of high salt intakes. Again however we invite critical comment on our assessment and suggestions on where to from here.

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Optimising the effects of plain packaging for tobacco – making Quitline information more salient

Monday, November 10th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Professor Janet Hoek and Emeritus Professor Philip Gendall

Given plain packaging of tobacco products will likely increase the tension many smokers experience, simple measures that enhance smokers’ access to cessation support, and affirm their decision to try and quit, could increase the number and success of quit attempts. This blog post details a just published study on this topic. It also suggests that New Zealand policy makers should ensure plain packaging regulations improve the current presentation of Quitline information and provide smokers with support to manage the dissonance plain packaging is likely to elicit.

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Does healthy food really cost more?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Sally Mackay (Researcher and PhD Candidate, Auckland University)

Blog on food pricesThere is a perception that healthy food costs more – but does it really? It all depends on how you measure the cost. This blog post looks at some of the different metrics and suggests that we need to consider several of them to get a better understanding of this important issue.

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