Amanda Wood, PhD candidate, University of Auckland
The Health Minister is currently deciding how to best address children’s poor health due to diet-related diseases. It is a good time to reflect not only on the content of those approaches, but also the regulatory frameworks for those approaches. This blog explores a co-regulatory approach that could be applied to the strengthening of junk food marketing restrictions to children.
Dr Ninya Maubach (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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?
Dr Amber Pearson & Associate Professor Nick Wilson
Food 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.
Associate Professor Louise Signal
International and national public health experts and delegates met on Monday this week to consider how to address New Zealand’s (NZ’s) increasing obesity epidemic. While they welcome the new Healthy Families NZ community-based initiative recently announced by the Minister of Health, they stress the critical need to focus on upstream policies to prevent obesity as well. Evidence-based policy options identified include: banning junk food marketing to children, introducing a tax on fizzy drinks, introducing easy to understand nutrition labels on foods, and ensuring families can afford to eat a healthy diet. Without supplementing community action with such upstream policy action, the experts at this Big Food Symposium believe obesity rates will stay high and possibly continue to climb. This blog explores some of these issues in more detail. Continue reading
Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson
Late last year Health Minister Tony Ryall visited Victoria, Australia, to examine their “Healthy Together Victoria” programme. This week, the Prime Minister announced that NZ will adopt this programme, and it will be known as “Healthy Families New Zealand”. This blog post gives a high level overview of this initiative and anticipates a series of four forthcoming blog posts here at Public Health Expert.
The Australian programme has healthy nutrition as a large focus, but it also extends to include alcohol, physical activity and smoking. Actually, large chunks of it sound like the old Health Eating – Healthy Action programme.
“The Healthy Together Victoria” programme looks a bit like old “Healthy Eating – Healthy Action” programme in New Zealand.