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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

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.

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Urgent need to tackle smoking rates in Pacific adults and youth

Thursday, 30 September 2021 1:17pm

New Zealand needs to take urgent action to reduce smoking in Pacific adults and youth if the country is to achieve its goal of reducing the number of smokers to less than five per cent of the population by 2025 according to a new report.

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A road map to ending diesel vehicle pollution

Friday, 17 September 2021 8:48am

Researchers have developed a road map to accelerate the removal of light diesel vehicles, including cars, utes and vans, from New Zealand roads in a quest to clear the air.

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Global eradication of COVID-19 should not be dismissed – new analysis

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 11:13am

Eradicating COVID-19 across the globe is theoretically more feasible than for polio but much less so than it was for smallpox, according to an analysis by New Zealand researchers.

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Otago researchers receive more than $13m in Health Research Council funding

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 10:12am

Investigating the impact of diabetes on access to cancer services, improving the health of Māori affected by psychosis, and a new stomach cancer drug delivery system are just some of the areas of University of Otago research to receive new Health Research Council funding.

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Progress in the Pacific on sugary drink taxes - research

Tuesday, 8 June 2021 9:17am

Pacific nations are leading the way regionally with taxes on sugary drinks in a bid to battle obesity and related diseases, new University of Otago-led research reveals.

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Misunderstanding may be obstacle to hitting Smokefree 2025 target

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 12:38pm

A lack of understanding about the aims of New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal – 10 years after it was announced – could be an obstacle in making the target a reality, a recent University of Otago-led study shows.

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New Zealand housing lacking basic amenities, new report finds

Thursday, 13 May 2021 10:12am

Five per cent of New Zealand houses lack at least one of six basic amenities including drinkable tap water, electricity, a toilet, and a kitchen sink, a new report from the He Kāinga Oranga Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington has found.

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Launch of new public health research programme led by Professor Michael Baker

Tuesday, 20 April 2021 1:42pm

Kōkiri Marae is hosting an all-day hui on Tuesday to launch the SYMBIOTIC Programme, a five-year research programme that focuses on finding ways of reducing the burden of infectious diseases, long-term conditions, and poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Researchers welcome Smokefree 2025 Action Plan

Thursday, 15 April 2021 2:25pm

Researchers from the University of Otago’s ASPIRE 2025 Research Centre, which carries out research to support the Smokefree 2025 goal, have welcomed and endorsed the action plan for achieving a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025 released by Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall today.

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Professor Michael Baker wins Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 9:47am

Professor Michael Baker MNZM, from the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington has won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize.

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Pump up the volume on quality school PE, researchers urge

Friday, 12 March 2021 3:05pm

Increasing the amount of time schools devote to physical education each week could dramatically reduce the number of children who are doing only minimal levels of exercise, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and Sport New Zealand have found.

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We must have a better plan for the next pandemic, say Otago researchers

Wednesday, 10 March 2021 3:20pm

Aotearoa New Zealand’s next pandemic plan needs a completely different approach to our previous plan that was focussed on influenza, say researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington in a new article that identifies key lessons from the COVID-19 response for managing future major outbreaks and pandemics.

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Kiwi kids consume five unhealthy snacks a day

Thursday, 11 February 2021 2:41pm

On average, 12-year-old children snack on unhealthy food and beverages five times a day, according to new research from the University of Otago.

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COVID-19 lockdown has mixed effects on smokers

Thursday, 4 February 2021 9:13am

New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown had mixed effects on smoking behaviours, a University of Otago study reveals.

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Targeted health messaging needed in era of vaping, researchers say

Wednesday, 27 January 2021 12:01pm

Health authorities should develop targeted health messages for vaping product and e-liquid packaging to encourage smokers to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes and to prevent non-smokers from taking up vaping, a researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington says.

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COVID-19 focus for 25th annual Public Health Summer School

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 12:14pm

One year on from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Otago Wellington has assembled a world-leading line-up of expert speakers for its annual Public Health Summer School in February.

Our academic building is temporarily closed for seismic reasons but our top class teaching, studying and research programmes remain in full swing.

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