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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

Call for pandemic research fund as “living memorial” to 1918 flu victims

Friday, 14 December 2018 9:11am

Professors from the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington are calling on the government to set up a research fund to help prevent pandemics and increase New Zealand’s preparedness to deal with such disasters.

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Licence to Swill: James Bond’s drinking over six decades

Monday, 10 December 2018 1:17pm

He may be licensed to kill but fictional British secret service agent James Bond has a severe alcohol use disorder, according to an analysis of his drinking behaviour published in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue.

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Cycle lanes and walkways cut car use, reduce emissions, study finds

Monday, 3 December 2018 3:32pm

Researchers have shown for the first time that investing in cycle lanes and walkways encourages people to drive less and cuts carbon emissions.

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The challenge of reducing health inequities and improving health outcomes in New Zealand

Monday, 19 November 2018 2:21pm

The Healthier Lives – He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge, hosted by the University of Otago,  welcomes the announcement from the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Megan Woods,  confirming funding for its 2019-2024 research strategy

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Sobering insights into alcohol marketing and Māori children

Thursday, 1 November 2018 10:26am

Innovative camera research has revealed that New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing in their residential and school neighbourhoods. The collaborative research by the Universities of Otago and Auckland, found children’s exposure to alcohol marketing was higher in neighbourhoods with greater numbers of alcohol outlets and for Māori participants.

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WWI cast a long shadow over New Zealanders’ health, study finds

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 10:42am

World War I cast such a long shadow over New Zealand that the health and social impacts continued through to the next generation, public health researchers say.

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Increasing alcohol tax could benefit health and save money for society – NZ study

Monday, 29 October 2018 12:52pm

Increasing the excise tax on alcohol would likely result in fewer people dying or being injured in vehicle crashes – and generate savings for society, according to a just-published New Zealand study.

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Kiwis failing to slip into shade and slap on a hat for sun protection, researchers find

Friday, 26 October 2018 10:44am

An alarming proportion of New Zealanders are neither wearing hats nor seeking shade to protect themselves from the sun, University of Otago research reveals.

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Flavoured capsule cigarettes pose a threat to smokefree goals

Tuesday, 23 October 2018 10:24am

New research from ASPIRE2025, a University of Otago research theme, challenges tobacco companies’ claims they are working towards a smokefree world and suggests young people are vulnerable to tobacco companies’ product innovations.

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Education and support for menstrual periods needed at primary school

Wednesday, 3 October 2018 10:30am

Primary school is the correct place to educate girls about periods and provide sanitary bins and pads, say University of Otago researchers.

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Tackling diet-related disease in New Zealand

Monday, 3 September 2018 9:54am

Unhealthy diet is the leading preventable risk for poor health in New Zealand. Diet-related diseases (and how we manage them) is becoming a pressing issue for the country.

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Otago experts question use of consultants who worked for tobacco industry in NZ tobacco review

Friday, 24 August 2018 2:31pm

University of Otago researchers believe Government actions may be inconsistent with its tobacco treaty obligations by employing a consulting firm that has worked globally for the tobacco industry, to advise on tobacco taxation.

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Closing NZ’s border in severe pandemics cost-effective – New study

Thursday, 9 August 2018 7:20am

Closing the border may make sense for New Zealand in some extreme pandemic situations, according to a newly published study of the costs and benefits of taking this step.

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Anywhere, anytime: New Zealand children’s exposure to alcohol marketing

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 10:56am

Innovative camera research has revealed New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing on average 4.5 times per day.

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Major fundamental changes required to achieve health equity

Monday, 9 July 2018 9:15am

In comparing efforts to address health inequities, researchers in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ) and the United States (US) have found that both countries are failing to align policy with evidence-based approaches that could help achieve equity.

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Junk food dominates NZ sport

Monday, 9 July 2018 9:03am

Junk food dominates New Zealand sport venues, according to new research led by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Smokefree 2025: An opportunity for big scores by the Government

Friday, 22 June 2018 10:17am

A group of tobacco control experts today published an open letter in the New Zealand Medical Journal calling for bold new actions from the New Zealand Government to achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal.

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Almost $19 million awarded to Otago researchers in Health Research Council funding

Monday, 18 June 2018 10:21am

A new study investigating for the first time the health of occupants of leaky homes in New Zealand is one of many University of Otago-led projects being funded this year by the Health Research Council to the tune of almost $19 million.

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New Zealand leads call to improve health for indigenous people globally

Friday, 1 June 2018 3:59pm

An open letter published today in a leading international medical journal, Lancet Oncology, calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) and Governments to prioritise health improvements for Indigenous peoples worldwide.

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Cold New Zealand council housing getting an upgrade

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 11:17am

University of Otago, Wellington researchers are advocating for standards to bring all New Zealand housing up to the World Health Organization minimum standard which recommends indoor temperature of 18 degrees celcius.

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Warning labels on alcohol containers highly deficient, new research shows

Monday, 21 May 2018 2:23pm

Current health warning labels on alcohol beverage containers in New Zealand are highly deficient, new research from the University of Otago, Wellington shows.

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Radical new framework for trade and investment treaties

Monday, 14 May 2018 12:44pm

A team from the University of Otago, Wellington has just published a radical new framework for designing international trade and investment treaties.

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Study aiming to improve New Zealand’s low breastfeeding rates

Thursday, 3 May 2018 1:24pm

University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) researchers are leading a new collaborative study to find out why New Zealand breastfeeding rates are so low and even dropping.

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Otago researchers claim inaugural Māori researcher fellowships

Monday, 30 April 2018 2:25pm

Two University of Otago researchers of Ngāpuhi descent are being rewarded with new prestigious four-year fellowships aimed at providing better health and well-being for Māori.

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International agreement provides Otago opportunity to help shape global cancer agenda

Friday, 20 April 2018 2:25pm

In a New Zealand first, the University of Otago has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

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Safety warning labels needed on fresh chicken, say researchers

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 9:07am

New research has found that many New Zealand consumers are unaware of the high levels of Campylobacter contamination of fresh chicken and most want safety labelling about the risks on poultry products.

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Threats from tobacco industry stalled New Zealand plain packs legislation

Friday, 13 April 2018 12:37pm

Threats of lawsuits by the tobacco industry helped delay the New Zealand legislation for plain tobacco packs by at least three years, new University of Otago research suggests.

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New Zealand dentists pick up the pieces when ‘dental tourism’ goes bad

Thursday, 12 April 2018 11:40am

New Zealand dentists are increasingly having to provide remedial treatment where things have gone wrong for “dental tourists” who travel abroad for dental work.

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Taxing sugary drinks a no-brainer for New Zealand

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 10:24am

On 1 April 2018, the United Kingdom introduced a sugary drinks tax, an important public health measure that University of Otago, Wellington, public health researchers believe should be happening in New Zealand too.

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Evidence from 100 years ago of socio-economic position and shorter lifespans in New Zealand men

Monday, 26 March 2018 10:11am

For the first time, Otago researchers have identified evidence of socio-economic inequalities resulting in different death rates in New Zealand men from 100 years ago.

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More sustainable transport for better health in New Zealand cities

Friday, 23 March 2018 1:51pm

Can your local council stop you getting heart disease or cancer? Yes, say researchers in a new study led by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Research suggests promoting smokefree homes may help reduce teen smoking

Thursday, 22 March 2018 1:52pm

New Zealand children and teens growing up in smokefree homes are less likely to take up smoking, even if their parents are smokers, a University of Otago, Wellington, study has found.

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Standardised packaging a good move, but Otago researchers call for more in fight against tobacco

Wednesday, 14 March 2018 2:59pm

Today marks the introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco products sold in New Zealand.

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Study of smoking among doctors and nurses shows very low smoking prevalence and Smokefree 2025 goal can be achieved

Friday, 9 March 2018 10:57am

A new study on smoking trends among doctors and nurses in New Zealand finds smoking has declined steadily within these healthcare professions. Researchers say this shows that very low smoking rates can be achieved in large occupational groups, suggesting that New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal is reachable.

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Teachers suffer post-traumatic stress following ‘quakes – Otago research highlights

Thursday, 1 March 2018 2:56pm

School teachers were among the majority of frontline workers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the Christchurch earthquakes, new University of Otago research shows.

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Out of prison and back to smoking?

Friday, 23 February 2018 4:20pm

A lack of support means many prisoners relapse back to smoking on release, despite many wanting to stay smokefree, a new study has found.

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Considering public health issues- the 22nd Public Health Summer School

Monday, 5 February 2018 9:05am

Leading international and New Zealand health experts will be in Wellington to participate in the 22nd Public Health Summer School run by the University of Otago, Wellington in February. The Public Health Summer School will be officially opened by the Minister of Health, Hon Dr David Clark on 7 February.

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Few drinking fountains in New Zealand playgrounds – New study

Friday, 2 February 2018 2:50pm

New research has found that only a fifth (20 per cent) of childrens’ playgrounds in the lower North Island of New Zealand had drinking fountains (11 out of 54 playgrounds).

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Predator Free 2050 has major benefits for human health

Monday, 15 January 2018 9:12am

The Predator Free 2050 campaign to rid New Zealand of rats and possums will have major benefits for human health as well as for native plants and animals, says University of Otago, Wellington public health researcher Dr Mary McIntyre.

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Shade shortage in Wellington playgrounds: Otago research highlights the need to ‘slip, slop, slap and wrap’ this summer

Tuesday, 9 January 2018 4:51pm

Children visiting playgrounds this summer may be at high risk of sunburn, according to a new study from the University of Otago, Wellington.