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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Business, Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
Master's, PhD
Medicine (Wellington)
Professor Jeremy Krebs, Dr Meika Foster


The He Rourou Whai Painga (HRWP) study's overarching purpose is to provide evidence through rigorous research that a diet which includes a specific selection of New Zealand (NZ) Food and Beverage (F&B) products offers health benefits to consumers.


Non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (collectively referred to as metabolic disease) are major contributors to premature morbidity and mortality of New Zealanders, making them the largest health issue our country currently faces. This is compounded by the fact that metabolic disease dramatically increases the risk of comorbidities such as cancer.

Internationally the most effective and sustainable dietary pattern to improve metabolic, cardiovascular, and wellbeing profiles in people at risk of cardiometabolic disease is the Mediterranean diet (expanded in research landscape section). A Mediterranean diet is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and olive oil, and involves a moderate weekly intake of fish, poultry and dairy with limited consumption of lean red meat. Importantly, this dietary pattern can be effectively produced by consuming a variety of New Zealand produced food and beverage products.

As part of the HVN He Rourou Whai Painga (HRWP) challenge we are proposing a long-term multi-centre dietary intervention study that will explore whether consumption of high quality New Zealand F&B products that can be used to promote a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern improves metabolic, cardiovascular, and wellbeing profiles in New Zealand whānau at risk of cardiometabolic disease. This will be first trial to assess the and efficacy and long-term adherence of a New Zealand produce-based Mediterranean-style diet to a whānau or household group in the community.

The main study will be unique in the New Zealand clinical trial landscape, because of the integration of multiple businesses across the F&B industry and science, the whole diet and whole whānau approach, and the tapered intervention and prolonged maintenance phase. The findings from the pilot studies and the main study will have utility through:

  1. Development of a New Zealand-specific metabolic syndrome severity score. This score can then be used as a marker of metabolic health for new observational and interventional research in the New Zealand context, but also be adopted by clinicians as means to monitor patients trajectory towards cardiometabolic disease
  2. Identification of which types of high quality New Zealand F&B products are preferred by New Zealanders who are at risk of cardiometabolic disease and which products will have the greatest impact of changing habitual diet patterns to facilitation dietary adherence advice to reducing the cardiometabolic disease risk
  3. Development of a 'brand' that will benefit industry, consumers and health professionals who want to easily identify New Zealand products that are sustainable and have proven cardiometabolic benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet
  4. Ability to leverage the Brand to promote export of NZ F&B products which meet the nutritional elements of the Brand, to increase economic benefits to NZ
  5. Development of an algorithm that may predict individuals who are most likely to attain the greatest health benefits from following a New Zealand Mediterranean style-diet. Personalised dietary advice


Professor Jeremy Krebs
Tel 021 911 008

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