Health-related food taxes and subsidies: A critique of opposition arguments

Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Kate Sloane | No Comments

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Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, and Professor Tony Blakely

junkfood1Health-related food taxes and subsidies are a hot topic internationally. Emerging research suggests they could improve diets and produce substantial health gains. However, the proposition of food pricing policies often meets with vigorous opposition and a range of counter-arguments relating to potential harms, lack of efficacy, and incursion on personal freedoms. In this blog, we briefly analyse 8 common arguments raised in opposition to such policies, and consider their basis drawing on the best available NZ and international evidence.

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Minimum pricing of alcohol: what does the evidence say?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 7 Comments

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Professor Tony Blakely, Professor Jennie Connor, Associate Professor Nick Wilson

As a strategy to reduce harm from alcohol, there is growing interest internationally around the setting of minimum prices on alcohol. In this blog we review a paper just published in the Lancet on this approach. We also consider the potential implications for New Zealand around combining minimum pricing with increases in alcohol excise tax.

Professor Jennie Connor, University of Otago, researches the public health impacts of alcohol policy in NZ

Professor Jennie Connor, University of Otago, researches the public health impacts of alcohol policy in NZ

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Reducing cardiovascular disease deaths from overweight & obesity: Fortunately there are several options

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 | Kate Sloane | 3 Comments

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Professor Tony Blakely

Compared to a ‘normal’ body weight (BMI 20-<25), being obese (BMI ≥ 30) is associated with a 69% higher coronary heart disease death rate and a 47% higher stroke death rate [1]. The same excess rates for overweight (BMI 25-<30) are 26% and 13%, respectively. In this blog, we look at a recent combined analysis of 97 studies on how much of the overweight/obesity association with cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths is due to high blood pressure, cholesterol or glucose [1], and what this means for how health policy can address the obesity epidemic. We also reflect on a seminal paper on BMI and mortality by the late Gary Whitlock.

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6 teaspoons of sugar a day helps the diseases stay down, in a most challenging way

Friday, March 7th, 2014 | Nick Wilson | 11 Comments

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Tony Blakely, Nick Wilson

Here comes the next big battle in nutrition: SUGAR. Yesterday, the World Health Organization put out their widely anticipated guidelines on sugar intake for consultation. In this blog, we review some of the underlying evidence on the health sugar pileharm of sugar, and then pull back to consider the diet in total. There are many other aspects to the “sugar wars” that we do not cover here, such as sugar industry lobbying of politicians that the UK press – in particular the Guardian – has been repeatedly profiling. Instead, we try to focus on the science of the science.

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NZ compares well with other OECD countries in health & other areas: But scope for improvements

Friday, November 15th, 2013 | Kate Sloane | 1 Comment

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Assoc Prof Nick Wilson and Dr Nisha Nair

NZ compares favourably with other OECD countries in many ways – according to the just released results of the OECD’s “Better Life Index”. This blog considers some of the details and also various ways we could make further improvements in health, safety and the environment.

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