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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Mounting Complexities in the Dietary Salt & Health Relationship

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 9 Comments

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

salt picA large prospective study on dietary salt and health has recently been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. While reinforcing extensive past work that a (very) high intake of salt is hazardous to health – an increased hazard was also found for low intakes of salt (i.e., a “J-shaped” or “U-shaped” relationship). This blog post considers this new study in more detail and suggests that we need a high-level international review to clarify the research and policy agenda from here. Our interpretation should be treated as preliminary on what may be an important study; therefore, we welcome and encourage comments on this blog post.  [SEE MULTIPLE COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG BELOW.  AND IN PARTICULAR SEE SUBSEQUENT BLOG WHERE WE UPDATE ANALYSIS BELOW BASED ON DISCUSSIONS WITH COLLEAGUES – IMPORTANT.]

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Will the Health Star Rating labels improve people’s diets?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

Dr Ninya Maubach (ninya.maubach@otago.ac.nz)

Consumers have a right to have informative yet easy-to-use nutrition labelling, and effective labelling is one tool to help control the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Everyone agrees that on its own, the current Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) used in NZ does not achieve the goal of facilitating healthier food choices. But suggestions around more consumer-friendly front-of-pack labels have been fiercely contested by industry and health stakeholders – until now, it seems. Is the new Health Star Rating label truly a win-win consensus, or might too much have been given away to reach a compromise?

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Ireland leads New Zealand in the battle against obesity

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 2 Comments

Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Editor note: This blog was prepared by Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu whilst she was visiting her home-country, Ireland. Cliona sent an email to myself and other Kiwis during that time outlining the strong actions that the Irish Government is planning on obesity and food – a far cry from the state of play in New Zealand. Which has led to this blog, in which Cliona makes the head-to-head comparison on food and obesity policy (in)activity between Ireland and New Zealand. Tony Blakely.

In the last couple of years the Irish rugby team gave the All Blacks cause to sit up and take notice not just once but twice. The first occasion was during the 2nd test match in 2012 where the ABs narrowly won with a drop kick minutes before the end, and the second was late last year in Dublin when the ABs won by a margin of just 2 points. Optimistic Irish rugby fans are increasingly convinced that the day will come when Ireland will beat New Zealand at its own game.

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Study of NZ fruit & vegetable prices suggests markets best value-for-money

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 3 Comments

Dr Amber Pearson & Associate Professor Nick Wilson

Fruit and vege market 1Food prices matter for determining access to healthy food – and so we studied fruit and vegetable prices in two NZ cities in this newly published article in PLOS ONE. In this blog post we elaborate on some of the details, including the finding that prices were generally lower at markets compared to supermarkets (with a family of four potentially saving up to $49 per week by buying at markets compared to from a supermarket). We also consider what else that central and local government could do to facilitate use of such markets.

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