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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

NZ one of few island nations with potential to produce enough food in a nuclear winter

Tuesday, 7 February 2023 1:00pm

New Zealand is one of only a few island nations that could continue to produce enough food to feed its population in a nuclear winter, researchers have found.

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Locating for recovery: acute mental health units remain in the shadows

Thursday, 2 February 2023 11:14am

Acute mental health care units remain in the shadows, neither fully integrated into general hospitals nor part of the community, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, say.

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Sovereign rights to health and wellbeing

Monday, 19 December 2022 12:33pm

A passion for upholding sovereign rights to health and wellbeing for tangata whenua has led Dr Paula Toko King to a career in Kaupapa Māori research that encompasses areas of racism, disability, care and protection, youth justice and prison.

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Housing the homeless is the first step

Thursday, 15 December 2022 11:06am

Providing unconditional access to housing is the first step towards improving the mental and physical health and wellbeing of those experiencing homelessness, researchers say.

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New smokefree policy will improve Aotearoa health: Otago experts

Wednesday, 14 December 2022 10:01am

University of Otago experts welcome a new smokefree legislation which they say will bring profound health benefits to Aotearoa.

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Otago researchers set to tackle health issues with Career Development Awards

Monday, 28 November 2022 2:28pm

From a global health crisis to Aotearoa’s health inequity – University of Otago projects awarded Health Research Council funding will benefit those at home and around the world.

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Two more prestigious awards for Otago researchers

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 10:57am

Two of the University of Otago’s leading researchers have been honoured for their huge contribution to science with Royal Society Te Apārangi medals.

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Youth support for smokefree generation policy

Wednesday, 9 November 2022 9:06am

Young people have shown strong support for the Government’s proposal to introduce a smokefree generation, a study by researchers at the University of Otago has found.

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Local councils inadequately fluoridating water over past 30 years, researchers find

Friday, 28 October 2022 10:46am

Local councils have only achieved fluoride targets for drinking water 54 per cent of the time over the last 30 years, researchers from the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury have found.

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Call to end harmful marketing after study reveals children’s exposure

Thursday, 6 October 2022 10:45am

An end to outdoor marketing of gambling, alcohol and junk food is urgently needed to protect children from harm, according to new University of Otago-led research.

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Greater proportion of public housing in communities supports tenant health, researchers find

Tuesday, 4 October 2022 1:47pm

Arbitrarily limiting the proportion of public housing in new housing developments curtails the amount of public housing available without providing any health benefits for tenants, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

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Government urged to start official inquiry into pandemic response

Thursday, 22 September 2022 10:02am

Leading University of Otago academics are calling for the launch of an official inquiry into New Zealand’s COVID‑19 pandemic response while memories are clear and lessons can be learnt.

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Respiratory diseases lower in homes with retrofitted insulation

Wednesday, 7 September 2022 11:32am

Retrofitting home insulation can reduce the onset of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma by up to 10 per cent, new University of Otago research shows.

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What does poverty look like from a child’s perspective?

Friday, 5 August 2022 11:05am

New research has revealed the “shameful” extent of child poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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New Bill marks the beginning of the end for cigarettes and tobacco in Aotearoa

Wednesday, 27 July 2022 8:55am

Researchers from the University of Otago’s ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre, which carries out research to support the Smokefree 2025 goal, welcome the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill that Associate Health Minister Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall introduced to Parliament today.

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World-first studies point way to preventing rheumatic fever in Aotearoa and internationally

Wednesday, 6 July 2022 2:16pm

University of Otago-led research has uncovered the strongest evidence yet that household overcrowding is a major risk factor for acute rheumatic fever and streptococcal infections of the skin.

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More income support needed for young people experiencing homelessness, study finds

Thursday, 30 June 2022 12:30pm

Life improved for young people experiencing homelessness once they were housed through the Government’s Housing First programme, with fewer admissions to hospital and visits to emergency departments, although their incomes remained stubbornly low, research has found.

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Positive reintegration of ex-prisoners’ focus of HRC grant project

Thursday, 30 June 2022 9:17am

Improving the health and wellbeing of Māori who re-enter society from prisons, alongside their whānau and communities, is the aim of a University of Otago project which received Health Research Council of New Zealand funding today.

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Cycleways and walking paths boost rates of active travel

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 10:41am

Investing in cycleways and walking paths has boosted the use of active travel in two North Island cities, particularly by Māori and people on low incomes, researchers have found.

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Think outside the box on housing for sustainable future, researchers urge

Wednesday, 15 June 2022 11:37am

New Zealand urgently needs to increase the diversity and quality of its housing stock if it is to meet its goal of reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 2030 and meet the needs of our diverse population, researchers at the University of Otago say.

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Critic and Conscience of Society Award winner highlights vaping threat to health of young New Zealanders

Tuesday, 3 May 2022 1:52pm

Regulatory loopholes are contributing to increases in the number of young New Zealanders exposed to nicotine through vaping, warns the winner of the 2022 Critic and Conscience of Society Award.

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Students shivering inside cold, damp homes, study finds

Thursday, 7 April 2022 9:46am

Tertiary students are more than twice as likely as the general population to be living in damp and mouldy homes, a study by researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington has found.

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The price of keeping kids warm at night

Wednesday, 30 March 2022 10:59am

The cost of heating a child’s bedroom through the night in a Wellington winter would run through 46 per cent of the government’s Winter Energy Payment, which is paid to qualifying beneficiaries and all superannuitants to help with heating costs, a study by researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington has found.

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Nitrate levels in drinking water and bowel cancer

Friday, 4 March 2022 11:35am

The formation of cancer-causing chemicals in the gut could be at the heart of understanding how high levels of nitrate in our drinking water contribute to increasing the risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer, New Zealand researchers say.

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Vaccination programme failing those with mental health and addiction issues

Friday, 25 February 2022 3:12pm

New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out is failing to reach those with mental health and addiction issues, despite their inclusion in a priority group for vaccination, researchers have found.