Dr Helen Eyles, Dr Wilma Waterlander (both from The National Institute for Health Innovation), Professor Tony Blakely
Image from: http://www.life-enhancement.com
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you’ll be aware that sugar and its negative impact on dental caries, body weight, and other long-term health conditions such as diabetes, is highly topical. The World Health Organization has recently announced that we should reduce our daily sugar intake to less than 5% of total energy. In this blog, we consider two new articles assessing the evidence for artificial sweeteners and their impact on body weight and metabolism – one a lab experiment on mice published in Nature that was widely covered in the media, and one a systematic review of human studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The former shows deleterious effects of artificial sweeteners on the glucose metabolism of mice, but the later net benefits of artificially sweetened beverages on body weight among humans.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Professor Tony Blakely
A recently published review has quantified the estimated benefits and harms of taking regular aspirin for disease prevention. The results indicate a relatively favourable benefit-to-harm ratio (good for preventing various cancers and heart attacks – but also harmful in terms of causing gastric bleeding and one type of stroke). But for some people, the relative size of the benefit may still not be enough to outweigh the dislike of taking daily medication. This blog briefly looks at the issues and considers possible responses by NZ health agencies and research funders.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson
The recently published Report on the safety of water fluoridation (Royal Society of NZ & the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor) gave a green light for expanding water fluoridation in New Zealand given the scientific evidence for health benefit and safety, reduction in inequalities in oral health, and the cost-effectiveness. This blog post goes further to explore what else could be done to maximise the benefits of fluoridation for the oral health of New Zealanders.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson, Dr Linda Cobiac, Professor Tony Blakely
Image from a World Health Organization poster
In a modelling study we just published in the international journal Tobacco Control, we examined the potential role of increasing tobacco tax for achieving an end to the tobacco epidemic in NZ. The bottom line is that tax rises could play an important role but other strategies will almost certainly be required if the Government’s smokefree goal is to be achieved by 2025. In this blog we discuss some of the modelling results and also the other policy options that could be explored.