Prof Nick Wilson, A/Prof George Thomson
The United States has many major health problems – including declining life expectancy and an exorbitantly expensive health care system. However, the large number of state and local governments provide a wealth of potential lessons that NZ could learn from. In this blog we briefly consider some of these, particularly in the domains of support for nutrition and physical activity, tobacco and alcohol control, and pollution control.
Dr Caroline Shaw
Physical activity is good for health. Higher levels of physical activity are associated with reduced rates of breast and colon cancer, better mental health, lower obesity rates, lower heart disease, stroke (the list goes on). This blog looks at a new study we just published that found that New Zealanders who walk or cycle to their main activity each day have a 76% higher chance of achieving the Ministry of Health physical activity guidelines than those who drive cars.
Dr Caroline Shaw and Associate Professor Simon Hales
Editor note: In this Blog, Caroline Shaw and Simon Hales reflect on the weak evidence on health co-benefits for some ‘big’ environmental policies, but also highlight that there are many ‘no-brainer’ actions that can be taken now with likely health and environmental co-benefit. They have recently published a systematic review “Health Co-Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation Policies in the Transport Sector”.
The transport sector globally generates about 23% of carbon emissions (about 16% of gross emissions in New Zealand). This is largely dominated by the use of light vehicles (see the pie chart below- note: energy use is a good proxy for carbon emissions in the transport sector). Transport emissions continue to grow rapidly, particularly in emerging economies, and by one account transport could represent half of all global emissions by 2050. Continue reading
Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Nick Wilson
We gave a presentation to Members of Parliament last week on taxes and subsidies on food, the pros and cons (slides here). In this blogpost we go into some extra detail on how such nutritional interventions compare to physical activity ones – in terms of health gain and potential for cost savings to the health system. Continue reading
Associate Professor Nick Wilson
There is no doubt that earthquakes have historically had a terrible impact on human populations – and the shocking damage to Christchurch and its citizens in 2011 is still very much in the minds of New Zealanders. But living in shaky Wellington, makes one regularly wonder what might be the potential long-term benefits of earthquakes for public health. So here are a few examples relating to urban design and building design, disaster preparedness, and increased use of stairs over lifts. Continue reading