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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

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.

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Reimagining school uniforms

Thursday, 27 January 2022 9:39am

School uniforms need a radical redesign to better meet the needs of students, particularly for girls, who are often forced to wear uniforms that prevent them from being physically active in their lunch breaks and from cycling to and from school, a public health researcher says.

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Call to report bottled water quality results on labels

Thursday, 13 January 2022 9:28am

Bottled water is often perceived as clean and free of contaminants compared to tap water, but University of Otago researchers believe water quality results need to be printed on the label.

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Discrimination placing LGBTIQ+ people at risk of homelessness

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 10:17am

Discrimination in the housing market, as well as structural issues such as poverty, racism and instability, are placing Takatāpui and LGBTIQ+ people at higher risk of homelessness, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

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‘Breakthrough’ Otago research confirms skin infections as a cause of rheumatic fever

Monday, 20 December 2021 9:39am

University of Otago researchers have made a major breakthrough in further understanding acute rheumatic fever, showing that skin infections are likely to be a significant cause of the disease.

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New Smokefree Action Plan will transform tobacco policy, Otago researchers say

Thursday, 9 December 2021 3:10pm

Researchers from the University of Otago’s ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre, which carries out research to support the Smokefree 2025 goal, warmly welcome the Smokefree Action Plan announced earlier today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.

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Otago announces Professorial promotions for 2022

Monday, 22 November 2021 10:28am

Twenty-eight University of Otago academics are being promoted to the position of professor this year.

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Housing researchers win the Rutherford Medal, NZ’s top research honour

Thursday, 18 November 2021 10:50am

Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman CNZM QSO FRSNZ and researchers at the He Kāinga Oranga – Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, have been awarded the 2021 Rutherford Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

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Nitrate in drinking water could cause up to 100 cases of bowel cancer in NZ

Monday, 8 November 2021 1:03pm

Nitrate contamination of drinking water could cause up to 100 cases of bowel cancer in New Zealand every year, leading to 40 deaths, New Zealand research has estimated.

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Clearing the air: make more outdoor pedestrian spaces smokefree, researchers urge

Friday, 22 October 2021 11:08am

Creating large smokefree outdoor pedestrian spaces would aid the health sector’s efforts to help people quit smoking, researchers say.

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Vaping with nicotine more common than smoking among NZ teens

Monday, 18 October 2021 10:58am

More than a third of New Zealand high school students have tried vaping, with 10 per cent vaping regularly and six per cent vaping weekly or more often, researchers have found.