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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

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.

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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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