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Public Health news archive

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.

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Sex advice and Siri? To Google or not to Google? These are the questions

Thursday, 14 December 2017 9:31am

In an article published today in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, New Zealand researchers found that Google laptop searches performed better at finding online sexual health advice than the digital assistants on smartphones.

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How do firearms, floods and flu impact public health?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 8:24am

Firearms and public health, impacts of New Zealand’s most common natural hazard - flooding, and lessons from the 1918 flu pandemic are just some of the courses and seminar talks being offered by the University of Otago, Wellington’s Public Health Summer School.

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No hat, no play? Not always: Otago research

Thursday, 7 December 2017 2:44pm

Many children may not be sun-safe during school lunch breaks, research from the University of Otago, Wellington, reveals.

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Giving cash without strings attached can improve health

Thursday, 23 November 2017 12:05pm

New research has shown governments can help improve health in low and middle income countries, simply by providing cash to people living in poverty.

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Kids in Space Study: Where do our children go?

Thursday, 9 November 2017 9:04am

New Zealand children stick close to home, innovative research from Otago, Auckland and Harvard Universities has revealed.

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Small changes can make big differences for tenants, study finds

Friday, 3 November 2017 9:10am

Even minor improvements to new buildings can make a significant difference to tenants’ comfort, new research from the University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

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Marsden Fund backs Otago’s research in best ever round

Friday, 3 November 2017 10:04am

University of Otago researchers have gained around $24m for 33 world-class research projects in the latest Marsden Fund annual round – the University’s most successful round ever.

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Study shows NZers who cycle and walk for transport are more physically active

Tuesday, 31 October 2017 11:37am

New Zealanders who walk and cycle for transport are much more likely to have adequate levels of physical activity than those who drive cars.

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No smokefree signs at New Zealand racecourses, study shows

Friday, 27 October 2017 12:25pm

A survey of New Zealand racecourses and sports grounds with stands has found no smokefree signs at the racecourses and signage at less than half the sports grounds.

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Provide more water fountains at playgrounds, say researchers

Thursday, 19 October 2017 11:14am

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington, has found that only six per cent of Wellington City children’s playgrounds have drinking water fountains.

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NZ-China links in non-communicable disease research strengthened

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 2:21pm

The signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) at the University of Otago with three leading Shanghai institutions due to be held tomorrow is a welcome sign of the growing collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese health researchers, according to organisers.

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NZ kids can’t escape alcohol marketing next to bread and milk

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 4:19pm

New Zealand children are exposed to alcohol marketing on nearly every visit to the supermarket, innovative camera research from Otago and Auckland Universities reveals.

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New research shows NZ children are surrounded by junk food ads

Monday, 9 October 2017 5:25pm

New Zealand children are exposed to around 27 unhealthy food advertisements per day, innovative camera research from Otago and Auckland Universities reveals.

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New Zealand teens’ risky behaviour rates reduced since the 1990s

Wednesday, 4 October 2017 11:38am

Overall today’s adolescents are ‘better behaved’ than teens in the 1990s, says a University of Otago, Wellington researcher.

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New research shows surge in outdoor smokefree action around NZ

Friday, 22 September 2017 9:42am

Local outdoor smokefree action is rapidly growing around New Zealand, according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Book shines spotlight on our cities

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 12:02pm

A new book sets out important ideas for helping New Zealand cities resolve the challenges of providing quality, affordable housing, designing healthy transport systems and dealing with climate change.

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Canterbury quake damage increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Friday, 8 September 2017 3:32pm

A Healthier Lives National Science Challenge study using New Zealand linked datasets  reveals the impact of residential housing damage from the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes on hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease.

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Study shows most NZ playgrounds lack smokefree signs

Thursday, 24 August 2017 3:48pm

A new study of the smokefree signs at 63 New Zealand playgrounds has found that less than half of the playgrounds (44 per cent) had any such signs. Even when present, many of the signs were small and poorly designed, with some being only postcard sized.

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Quitline is good value-for-money - new study

Monday, 21 August 2017 10:52am

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington has found New Zealand’s Quitline service is a highly cost-effective way to improve health and even saves the health system money.

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Rental Warrant of Fitness for Wellington

Thursday, 17 August 2017 9:15am

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced.

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New Zealand is falling far short of its Smokefree 2025 goal

Wednesday, 2 August 2017 12:02pm

Smokefree 2025 will be Smokefree 2065 unless urgent government action is taken.

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Bowel-cancer screening cost-effective but does not reduce health inequalities

Thursday, 20 July 2017 9:13am

Bowel-cancer screening in New Zealand will improve health cost effectively, according to University of Otago research just published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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Thousands of NZ children continue to be exposed to second-hand smoke in cars

Friday, 7 July 2017 11:28am

New evidence shows one in five children continue to be exposed to smoking in cars, and that exposure even increased in 2015.

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Pathways to achieve Smokefree NZ – new study

Thursday, 29 June 2017 9:04am

New modelling research has shown the major ways for reducing smoking on the path to New Zealand’s smokefree goal by 2025. University of Otago, Wellington researchers are calling for these new measures to be considered by the New Zealand Government.

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Closing the border in extreme pandemics worthwhile – Study

Monday, 26 June 2017 1:07pm

It may sometimes make sense for island nations like New Zealand to temporarily close their borders in extreme pandemic situations, a new study by Wellington researchers suggests.

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Research finds flu is a major killer in New Zealand with Māori, Pasifika and low-income earners most vulnerable

Friday, 9 June 2017 12:27pm

New research from the University of Otago, Wellington, shows that influenza kills about 500 New Zealanders each year, and the risk of premature death is much higher for Māori, Pasifika, men and those living in relative poverty.

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Setting the world on a course toward sustainable development

Tuesday, 6 June 2017 12:26pm

Not all good policies, in isolation, lead to an overall good outcome. Interactions and linkages between policies are what will lead us towards a more sustainable world, according to a new International Council for Science (ICSU) report.

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Improvements to healthcare system needed to manage multimorbidity

Friday, 12 May 2017 9:06am

Living with multiple health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, is a challenge for increasing numbers of New Zealanders. New research led by the University of Otago, Wellington, has identified issues and improvements needed in the health care system to help patients with multimorbidity (multiple health conditions), their supporters and health care providers.

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New research towards a Smokefree Wellington

Thursday, 30 March 2017 8:46am

Progress towards smokefree inner cities in New Zealand requires specific policies for places like building entrances, family areas, public seating, outdoor dining and for city events, say researchers.

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Evidence supports nationwide roll-out of home safety measures

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 2:28pm

New evidence from the University of Otago, Wellington shows that government social investment in safer housing would be justified to prevent falls.

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Downward trend in disaster events causing mass deaths in NZ (1900 to 2015)

Thursday, 2 March 2017 7:45am

Fewer New Zealanders are now dying in large-scale disaster events but that is not the case across the Tasman, a University of Otago, Wellington study has found.

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Cold homes harm NZ youth health and schooling

Monday, 13 February 2017 11:29am

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington has found that young people are experiencing increased health problems, stress, and adverse social effects from cold housing.

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Wellington researchers awarded Long-Term Condition funds to tackle diabetes

Thursday, 9 February 2017 9:07am

Diabetes is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing long-term health conditions with enormous costs for individuals, the health care system and society. This was recognised in today’s announcement by the Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith for multi-million dollar funding on research to tackle diabetes.

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Public health leaders speaking in Wellington through February

Tuesday, 7 February 2017 9:08am

The 21st Public Health Summer School starts at the University of Otago, Wellington today. As part of the Public Health Summer School, the University will host four free evening talks by leading international public health experts throughout February. The Wellington lectures are free and open to the public.

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Researchers call for ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport

Friday, 13 January 2017 9:01am

Watching televised sport means watching advertisements for alcohol, say researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW).

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What has art got to do with Public Health?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016 4:40pm

What has art got to do with public health? How can people be “nudged” to better health using behavioural economics? And what emerging infectious diseases should we really worry about?

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Cost-effectiveness of Herceptin® for early stage breast cancer varies by age and tumour type

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 9:33am

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) found that the cost-effectiveness of the drug trastuzumab (known more commonly as Herceptin®) in treating early stage breast cancer was highly variable depending on the disease characteristics and age of the woman.

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Large Otago study shows New Zealand maternity system needs improvement

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 7:38am

Researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have released the findings of a major five-year study of New Zealand’s maternity outcomes. 

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BLITZ study: A youth vision for Porirua City

Monday, 19 September 2016 1:38pm

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington, with a unique angle and focus in Porirua city has found that better facilities and affordable activities for youth are urgently needed to achieve social sector change.

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Cycling and walking in NZ cities

Thursday, 25 August 2016 10:00am

Cities with higher levels of cycling and walking have better overall population health, according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Most homeless people working or studying

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 2:02pm

More than half of all homeless adults in New Zealand are working or studying, say University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) researchers.

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Radical new law needed to ensure the Smokefree 2025 goal

Friday, 5 August 2016 2:37pm

Sweeping changes to the Smokefree Environments legislation are proposed by University of Otago researchers in a newly published article in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

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I whakaputaina he Tirohanga Hauora mō ngā Poari Hauora a-Rohe i roto i te reo Māori

Friday, 8 July 2016 3:02pm

I whakaputaina e Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare, he rīpoata whakarāpopoto i ngā tatauranga hauora Māori mō ngā Poari Hauora a-Rohe o te motu nei. Koinei te wā tuatahi kua puta ēnei momo tatauranga i roto i te reo Māori.

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Removal of point-of-sale tobacco displays working

Tuesday, 5 July 2016 12:06pm

A new study led by University of Otago researchers suggests that July 2012 legislation that removed all point-of-sale tobacco displays from shops selling cigarettes has helped reduce smoking among New Zealand school students to record low levels.

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Homelessness accelerates between censuses

Friday, 3 June 2016 11:54am

At least one in every 100 New Zealanders were homeless at the latest census in 2013, compared with 1 in 120 in 2006, and 1 in 130 in 2001, say University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) researchers.

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Insulating houses keeps children out of hospital

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 9:09am

A new study from the University of Otago, Wellington has found that retrofitting insulation to current 2008 standards in existing houses reduces hospitalisation rates for all children by six percent.

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Much healthier low-cost bread possible

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 10:02am

Bread design could be substantially improved to better protect heart health according to new research. A team at the University of Otago, Wellington studied bread design from the perspective of reducing risk of heart disease, while keeping ingredient costs down. 

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NZ contributes to global report on Indigenous and tribal peoples

Thursday, 21 April 2016 3:05pm

A world-first study into the health and wellbeing of more than 154 million Indigenous and tribal peoples globally was launched today simultaneously in Melbourne and London, by Australia’s Lowitja Institute and the Lancet journal.

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Is austerity bad for your health?

Thursday, 18 February 2016 8:52am

Austerity measures are seriously bad for our health, according to Oxford University Professor David Stuckler, visiting Wellington this week as part of the University of Otago, Wellington Public Health Summer School. 

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Response to global crisis in indigenous mental health

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 3:23pm

Innovative approaches to address traumatised indigenous communities will be described by Australian educators Barbara Wingard and Dr David Denborough from the Dulwich Centre for Narrative Therapy in Wellington tomorrow.

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Promising advances in prevention of rheumatic fever

Tuesday, 9 February 2016 12:45pm

Leading health researchers and practitioners are meeting today to work towards preventing and controlling  rheumatic fever across New Zealand and Australia. The experts are gathering at a one-day seminar at the 20th Public Health Summer School run by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Working to improve public health in New Zealand

Monday, 1 February 2016 1:32pm

Leading international and New Zealand health experts will descend on Wellington throughout February to participate in the 20th Public Health Summer School run by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Government failing to adequately address tobacco harm for Māori

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 12:38pm

Māori smoking rates have barely changed since 2011, and the Government is not doing enough to address tobacco-related harm amongst Māori, say leading tobacco researchers and public health advocates.

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Wellington start-up in top three at Paris Climate Conference

Monday, 21 December 2015 1:49pm

A Wellington e-commerce start-up with a unique eco-idea to lower CO2 emissions has been placed second in a worldwide competition to tackle climate change at COP21, the 2015 Climate Conference in Paris.

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Rental ‘Warrant of Fitness’ to start in Wellington and Dunedin

Thursday, 17 December 2015 11:35am

The University of Otago, Wellington is working with Wellington and Dunedin City Councils on a rental Warrant of Fitness (WoF) to be introduced next year.

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What drives urban change in New Zealand?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015 9:38am

A new report about the drivers of urban change in New Zealand by the MBIE-funded Resilient Urban Futures Programme has been launched in Parliament by MPs Nicky Wagner and Grant Robertson. The report ‘Drivers of Urban Change’ brings together the views of key decision-makers and cutting-edge research.

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New Healthier Lives Challenge takes aim at NZ’s major killers

Friday, 4 December 2015 11:31am

Innovative research aimed at significantly reducing the death and disease burden of some of New Zealand’s leading health problems will be pursued through the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge launched by the Hon Steven Joyce at Ōtākou Marae on the Otago Peninsula today.

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Do New Zealanders still want the quarter-acre dream?

Monday, 2 November 2015 1:38pm

New Zealanders are moving towards the idea of mixed-use development where housing is within walking and cycling distance of key amenities like work, school or shopping, according to a survey carried out by the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

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Growing public support in the USA and Canada for smokefree outdoor laws

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 10:39am

A new study has found increasing support in the United States and Canada for smokefree laws for outdoor areas, especially in playgrounds and school grounds.

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Health benefits of 20 years of tobacco tax increases modelled

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 9:11am

Continuing annual 10% tobacco tax increases in New Zealand until 2031 should lead to health gains, net health-system cost savings and modest reductions of about 2% to 3% in health inequalities between Māori and non-Māori, according to a new study published by University of Otago, Wellington, researchers.

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Reducing salt in food good for the heart and health budgets

Monday, 4 May 2015 3:54pm

New Otago University research shows that introducing strategies that reduce the dietary salt intake of New Zealanders could reduce premature death and save millions of dollars annually for our health sector.

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Smokefree signage lacking in schools

Thursday, 23 April 2015 3:38pm

Smokefree signage, which is required by law, is absent from many North Island schools, according to University of Otago research.

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Overlooked law requires rentals to be free of dampness

Thursday, 16 April 2015 4:22pm

A law, developed in the 1940s to protect people from living in unhealthy homes, could be used to require landlords to provide housing that is free from dampness, according to researchers from the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington.

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The burgeoning cost of cancer in NZ – study

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 3:00pm

The cost of treating cancer in the New Zealand public health sector is more than $800 million annually – hundreds of millions higher than previous estimates, according to University of Otago research.

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New Zealand’s WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death – study

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10:05am

New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period.

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Otago housing and health researchers win Prime Minister’s Science Prize

Tuesday, 2 December 2014 4:32pm

The internationally acclaimed housing and health research team at the University of Otago, Wellington, has won the 2014 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, valued at $500,000.

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Influenza estimated to kill about 400 New Zealanders each year

Monday, 24 November 2014 9:49am

New Zealand has an average of 401 influenza-associated deaths each year according to estimates published for the first time.

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World-first study proves low-cost home modifications prevent falls

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 10:59am

Falls in the home could be reduced by a quarter according to the results of a new study just published online in top international medical journal The Lancet.

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Renters need assistance to improve poor housing conditions - study

Thursday, 18 September 2014 11:46am

Renters are living in poorer conditions than homeowners and are less empowered to improve their housing situation according to a study by medical students at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Study highlights flaw in tobacco industry’s “informed adult choice” stance

Monday, 15 September 2014 11:09am

Flaws in the tobacco industry’s argument that smokers exercise “informed adult choice” when they start smoking have been highlighted in new study.

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Science Challenge 11 funding a breakthrough for predominantly-urban New Zealand

Monday, 8 September 2014 2:53pm

The Government’s announcement of funding for Science Challenge 11 is welcome recognition that New Zealand is now predominantly an urban country, says the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

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Tobacco taxes important, but new approaches also needed – study

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 2:33pm

A just-published study suggests tobacco tax increases will need to be supplemented with other new approaches if New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal is to be achieved.

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Political parties to be questioned on needs of children

Wednesday, 3 September 2014 9:57am

Political party representatives will be asked to outline their policies in three key areas relating to the needs of children at a public forum being hosted this Friday by the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW).

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Study on causes of rheumatic fever gets underway in Auckland

Monday, 1 September 2014 10:04am

A study to identify and better understand risk factors for rheumatic fever – one of New Zealand’s most mysterious and serious illnesses – starts recruiting participants in Auckland this week.

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Needs of Māori a priority to address poor stomach cancer survival - researchers

Thursday, 21 August 2014 2:26pm

New research shows that Māori diagnosed with stomach cancer are 27% less likely to survive than non-Māori, prompting calls for recently-released national stomach cancer standards to prioritise the needs of Māori.

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Many drinks children associate with sport are largely unhealthy - study

Friday, 8 August 2014 11:47am

Urgent action is needed to help children and parents make healthier choices when it comes to the drinks children consume when playing sport, say University of Otago, Wellington researchers.

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More political momentum needed to achieve Smokefree 2025 goal

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:24am

New research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal by ASPIRE 2025 researchers suggests the Government’s goal to achieve a Smokefree New Zealand by 2025 may be failing to gather the political momentum needed to ensure it is achieved.

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Wellington’s street-connecting walkways could be better - study

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:20am

Graffiti, litter, and insufficient lighting and signage on Wellington’s street-connecting walkways are likely to be discouraging their use, researchers say.

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Improving prepayment electricity schemes could benefit households

Monday, 21 July 2014 11:49am

As power prices continue in an upward trend as reported in the latest Consumer Price Index, a new study shows households looking to find ways to make savings could benefit from using prepayment metering.

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HPV vaccination for school boys not yet cost-effective – study

Monday, 14 July 2014 12:11pm

HPV vaccination of New Zealand school boys is not yet a value-for-money option, according to a study just published by the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Successful community action – but smokefree car law
still needed to protect children

Friday, 4 July 2014 9:05am

Newly-published research shows the potential for community campaigns to reduce smoking in cars, but legislation is still critical to ensure children are protected the authors say.

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Breast cancer screening programme targets women too soon: researchers

Thursday, 26 June 2014 12:15pm

New Zealand should re-consider the age at which its breast cancer screening programme starts in light of growing questions about the balance of benefits and harms for women under 50, public health experts from the University of Otago Wellington say.

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Decline in funding for mass media campaigns undermines smokefree 2025 goal

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:43am

A steady decline in funding for mass media campaigns to promote smoking reduction is undermining the Government’s goal to achieve a smokefree New Zealand by 2025, warn ASPIRE 2025 researchers.

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Medical conditions add to premature mortality risk of people with mental illness

Friday, 23 May 2014 9:20am

People using mental health services in New Zealand are dying prematurely from both natural and external causes, a new University of Otago Wellington study has revealed.

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Study provides new insights in to health system cost of living and dying in New Zealand

Friday, 2 May 2014 10:45am

A just-published study showing how public spending on health varies by age and proximity to death raises interesting questions about the best use of taxpayer funds, the authors say.

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Anti-cancer vaccine proves cost effective: but coverage needs improving

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 1:12pm

The New Zealand Government’s investment in HPV vaccination for girls is a “good value-for-money” way to protect health, a just-published study by the University of Otago Wellington (UOW) shows.

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Study of 1000s of NZ fruit & vege prices shows markets best value

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 2:10pm

A family of four could save as much as $49 per week by buying their fruit and vegetables at markets other than from a supermarket, a University of Otago Wellington study shows.

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High level of smoking around others at bus stops - study

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 10:11am

A study of bus stops in the Wellington Region has identified high levels of smoking around other people and high levels of butt littering.

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Roll-your-owns less natural and at least as harmful as tailor-made cigarettes

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 8:59am

Poorer smokers may favour “roll your own” and many falsely believe that use of loose tobacco is less dangerous than factory-made cigarettes, according to a University of Otago public health researcher writing in the British Medical Journal.

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Māori leaders join together to inspire new suicide prevention approaches in wake of latest figures

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 3:25pm

Māori, Pacific and indigenous leaders will next week join youth workers, teachers, community activists and others at a Wellington symposium to examine and inspire new approaches to Māori, Pacific and indigenous suicide prevention.

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Rheumatic fever research partnership projects gain major support

Monday, 16 December 2013 3:00pm

University of Otago, Wellington researchers have been awarded major funding for two projects aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of rheumatic fever in New Zealand.

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Exposure to harmful housing conditions common 
among hospitalised children

Friday, 13 December 2013 9:58am

A high proportion of children admitted to Wellington Hospital in winter are exposed to harmful housing conditions, according to a new University of Otago Wellington study.

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Symposium explores new approaches to Māori suicide prevention

Thursday, 12 December 2013 2:19pm

New approaches to Māori and indigenous suicide prevention will be examined at a symposium on 10 February as part of the University of Otago Wellington Public Health Summer School.

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Government losing millions due to foreign cigarettes

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 10:11am

The New Zealand Government is losing up to $89.1 million per annum in tax revenue due to tobacco brought in to the country from overseas, ASPIRE 2025 researchers estimate.

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New Zealand sport “awash with junk food”

Thursday, 7 November 2013 3:25pm

New Zealand sport is “awash with junk food” according to researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW).

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Modern analysis casts new light on WW1 deaths – Study

Friday, 1 November 2013 4:43pm

New research on injury-related deaths among New Zealand military forces in the First World War supports the idea that several preventive measures could have significantly reduced the death toll.

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New research shows children need protection from smoking in cars

Tuesday, 1 October 2013 10:58am

New research published in a leading international journal shows young people’s exposure to secondhand smoke in cars in New Zealand remains high, particularly among Māori and Pacific people, low socio-economic groups and those whose parents smoke.

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34,000 people missing out on housing, University of Otago research shows

Monday, 23 September 2013 8:00am

An estimated 34,000 people, or about one in every 120 New Zealanders, were unable to access housing in 2006, according to the latest available census and emergency housing data, say University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) researchers.

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Changing social circumstances influence smoking

Thursday, 12 September 2013 4:50pm

Reducing people’s deprivation through wider social policy should help reduce smoking rates significantly according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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New book points the way on housing affordability

Monday, 19 August 2013 3:50pm

A decent supply of affordable and social housing requires a concerted effort from government and the private sector as well as community groups, says Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Cold bedrooms harm children’s lungs: Otago research

Friday, 16 August 2013 9:52am

New findings from the Housing and Health Research Programme/He Kainga Oranga at the University of Otago show even small changes in indoor temperatures affect children’s lungs.

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New findings on health loss and where gains might be made

Thursday, 8 August 2013 4:13pm

The Ministry of Health has just released a new “Burden of Disease” study for New Zealand – a culmination of many years of study into disability, disease and premature death.

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More evidence needed to determine if in-work tax credits provide health benefits for parents

Thursday, 8 August 2013 4:50pm

A just-published international systematic review has found a small and methodologically limited body of evidence which suggests that in-work tax credits such as the one applied in New Zealand since 2006, may have no discernible effects on the health of parents.

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‘Warrant of Fitness’ for rental houses will soon be available

Friday, 2 August 2013 2:25pm

The Housing and Health Research Programme/He Kainga Oranga at the University of Otago, Wellington and the New Zealand Green Building Council are co-operating to develop a new test that could pass or fail houses with a ‘Warrant of Fitness’ (WoF) type assessment.

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Household crowding key cause of hospital admissions: Otago research

Friday, 7 June 2013 11:47am

One in 10 admissions to hospital in New Zealand to treat infectious diseases such as pneumonia, meningococcal disease and tuberculosis are the direct result of household crowding a new study has found.

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In-Work Tax Credit does not improve health of parents

Thursday, 30 May 2013 9:23am

Researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found that the In-Work Tax Credit, which has been applied in New Zealand since 2006, has no discernible effect on the health of parents.

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Hazards in homes and gardens a major injury cost

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 9:49am

A significant proportion of injuries in the home, costing millions of dollars a year, are related to how a house is built and maintained, according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Prepayment electricity metering leaves children in the cold

Friday, 15 March 2013 8:55am

A study by the University of Otago, Wellington just published in the New Zealand Medical Journal finds that households with children that use prepayment meters to pay for electricity experience greater levels of economic hardship. Problems reported by families running out of credit, or ‘self-disconnecting’ as the industry describes it, included not being able to heat baby’s bottles, cook for or bathe their children, and increased family tension.

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Lowering salt intake in diets important and very feasible

Monday, 11 March 2013 10:21am

A newly published study has found that it would be relatively easy for New Zealanders to reach recommended levels of lower salt intake to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and stomach cancer. This is even if some meals have occasional high salt ingredients such as sausages or other processed foods.

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Smartphone app shows Australians smoke less in cars than New Zealanders

Monday, 4 March 2013 9:54am

Research just published indicates that New South Wales has one third of the people smoking in cars compared to New Zealand. Of nearly 5000 cars observed in Sydney, only 1% had smokers, compared to 2.9% of 10,000 cars in New Zealand.

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Food, fizzy, and football: unhealthy food and drink promoted through sport

Thursday, 14 February 2013 9:51am

Public health researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW), are concerned that some food and drink companies selling unhealthy food also sponsor popular, televised sports in New Zealand.

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New approaches to combating rheumatic fever in children

Tuesday, 5 February 2013 9:59am

Leading international researchers and doctors are meeting at the University of Otago, Wellington this week to identify new approaches to reducing the very high levels of rheumatic fever in New Zealand and Australia.

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Smokefree playground policies can make a difference

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 8:49am

British and New Zealand playgrounds have a significantly smaller proportion of people smoking than other types of public outdoor areas, according to latest research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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First time parenting a positive experience for mental health

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 2:17pm

Becoming a parent for the first time may improve mental health and reduce levels of psychological distress, according to a new study from the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW).

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Leading international speakers for Public Health Summer School

Monday, 10 December 2012 2:05pm

The largest and longest running Public Health Summer School in New Zealand and Australia will provide an exciting line-up of national and international speakers for three weeks next February.

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Binge drinking in young people attracted to more than one gender

Monday, 12 November 2012 4:58pm

A report by the University of Otago, Wellington shows that many young people attracted to more than one gender tend to binge drink because they feel stigmatised and socially excluded.

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Swine flu pandemic expensive for NZ

Friday, 9 November 2012 8:44am

A new study estimates the total cost to the New Zealand hospital sector of the 2009 ‘swine flu’ pandemic at around $31 million.

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Research undermines tobacco industry’s plain packaging claims

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 3:51pm

Two research studies led by University of Otago researchers have challenged tobacco companies’ claims about plain packaging. Both studies were conducted by the ASPIRE2025 research group, which includes Professors Janet Hoek and Phil Gendall working from Otago’s Department of Marketing, and Professor Richard Edwards from the University’s Department of Public Health (Wellington).

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Otago study reveals persistent deprivation for NZ children

Friday, 21 September 2012 11:41am

A sizeable and “difficult to ignore” proportion of New Zealand children have experienced persistent low income and deprivation in recent years, according to a new University of Otago study using seven years of longitudinal survey data.

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Alcohol use common in TV music videos

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 3:54pm

An analysis of music videos on New Zealand television shows that the portrayal of alcohol is commonplace.

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Well-planned cities improve people’s health

Friday, 1 June 2012 3:56pm

New Zealand is one of the countries critically examined in a major report on the planning of cities and their impact on population health, released this week. The report ‘Shaping Cities for Health’ was commissioned by a leading UK medical journal The Lancet.

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Death by disconnection: ‘Fuel poverty’ issue missed in Muliaga case

Friday, 1 June 2012 2:47pm

An analysis of hundreds of print media stories on the death of Auckland resident, Mrs Folole Muliaga, after her power was cut off by Mercury Energy in 2007 has found that the wider issue of ‘fuel poverty’ was largely ignored.

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Short term household income change and impacts on health

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 2:49pm

Short term changes in household income have only small effects on health, but have more significant impacts if income is affected by unemployment or chronic health conditions, new research from the University of Otago, Wellington shows.

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Public health expert questions prescription charge move

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 3:02pm

The Government’s announcement that it will increase the co-payment for a prescription from $3 to $5 per item, for up to a maximum of 20 items per year, represents a questionable trade-off, says a University of Otago public health researcher.

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The cost of law-making in New Zealand

Monday, 14 May 2012 10:04am

University of Otago, Wellington researchers have just published a study that estimates for the first time the average cost of producing a new law in New Zealand.

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High income mobility but one in five households have chronic low income

Wednesday, 9 May 2012 10:05am

A new study by the University of Otago, Wellington shows how the problem of chronic low income for a significant number of New Zealand households co-exists with high income mobility for the rest.

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Encouraging news for heart patients

Monday, 30 April 2012 10:28am

Inheriting gene variants that increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease does not necessarily mean an individual is going to have reduced life expectancy if he or she suffers a heart attack.

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How childhood family income affects adulthood

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 10:29am

A study from the University of Otago’s long-running Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) throws new light on a current issue; links between family income and other outcomes later in life such as health and educational achievement.

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Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms indicated

Friday, 24 February 2012 4:01pm

Population-based screening for often fatal abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) should be given serious consideration, according to a new study from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Alarming increase in serious infectious diseases in NZ

Monday, 20 February 2012 4:21pm

Admissions to New Zealand hospitals from infectious diseases have jumped dramatically over the last two decades according to just published research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Emerging influenza viruses in animals still a threat to human health

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 9:26am

 A top international influenza researcher, educated at the University of Otago, warns that public health officials responsible for the surveillance of influenza viruses should not be complacent about the development of new viruses that may spread from the animal world to humans.

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Food safety regulation of poultry cuts levels of paralysis

Wednesday, 8 February 2012 3:44pm

A recent large decrease in campylobacter infection from fresh poultry in New Zealand has also resulted in a significant drop in a neurological condition which can result in paralysis or death.

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Nutrition policy favours food industry - not public health

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 3:49pm

The national nutrition policy formulated by Labour and National-led Governments favours the food industry over public health according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Otago research reveals most Kiwis eating too much salt

Friday, 2 December 2011 1:35pm

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of adult New Zealanders are consuming more sodium than current nutrition guidelines recommend, according to analysis of urine samples taken from 3000 people who took part in the latest New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey.

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Big increase in potentially fatal necrotising fasciitis disease

Tuesday, 27 September 2011 9:23am

There has been a significant increase in necrotising fasciitis (NF) or ‘flesh-eating disease’ in New Zealand between 1990 and 2006 according to the first ever nation-wide assessment of the incidence of this disease.

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Long working hours can lead to alcohol addictions

Monday, 8 August 2011 10:35am

A University of Otago, Christchurch, study has found that working at least 50 hours a week increases the risk of alcohol problems by up to three times.

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Much still to be done to reduce ethnic and socio-economic health inequities

Friday, 8 July 2011 9:12am

Although progress has been made in reducing health inequities, an editorial in today's New Zealand Medical Journal proposes the next ten most important actions needed to further reduce significant health "gaps‟ based on ethnicity and socio-economic status in New Zealand.

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Further investigation into climate change and infectious diseases needed

Monday, 13 June 2011 9:17am

Much more effort should be made by NZ government agencies and researchers into the possible increase of infectious diseases because of climate change according to latest research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Intoxicated patients an increasing problem for Emergency Departments

Friday, 10 June 2011 9:18am

Research by the University of Otago, Wellington shows that growing numbers of intoxicated people presenting at the Emergency Department of Wellington Hospital verbally and physically abuse staff on a regular basis, and have a negative impact on other patients.

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Campylobacteriosis cases halved following controls on chicken meat

Monday, 16 May 2011 8:50am

New Zealand’s success in reducing its food borne campylobacteriosis epidemic is receiving international attention. In a paper just published in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, NZ scientists report how both notified and hospitalised cases of campylobacteriosis declined by more than 50% following interventions to reduce campylobacter contamination of fresh chicken meat.

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Serious skin infection rates double in children since 1990

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 2:10pm

Serious skin infection rates in New Zealand children have increased markedly over the last two decades according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Food insecurity and psychological distress in NZ

Monday, 4 April 2011 8:55am

Food insecurity appears to be a growing problem in New Zealand and according to latest research from the University of Otago, Wellington is associated with elevated levels of psychological distress amongst thousands of adults. Food insecurity or the lack of access to safe, nutritious, affordable food, not only affects nutrition and physical health, but also the mental health of New Zealanders.

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Māori women have biggest increase in breast cancer rates

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 8:58am

Māori women have had the highest rates and the largest increase in breast cancer over the last two decades according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Injuries and deaths in the home a major hidden cost

Monday, 31 January 2011 9:36am

Accidental injuries and deaths in the home cost New Zealanders three and a half times as much as road injuries, and yet are paid little attention according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Study finds concern for children a significant new reason to quit smoking

Friday, 10 December 2010 9:03am

New Zealand smokers are increasingly saying that ‘setting an example’ for children is an important reason to quit, according to new public health research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Varying New Zealand cancer trends and burden by ethnicity

Tuesday, 7 December 2010 9:04am

The University of Otago, Wellington, has just launched two major cancer reports, both in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

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The tobacco report: A kaupapa to save 5000 lives a year

Friday, 26 November 2010 9:10am

An editorial in today’s New Zealand Medical Journal describes the recent Māori Affairs Select Committee (MASC) report on tobacco as bold and visionary.

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Household crowding linked to high rates of acute rheumatic fever

Monday, 15 November 2010 4:03pm

New Zealand has one of the highest reported rates of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) amongst children and teenagers in the developed world; an infectious disease which can cause chronic rheumatic heart disease through damaged heart valves, and results in over 120 deaths a year.

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Alcohol often cheaper than bottled water and nearly as cheap as milk

Friday, 15 October 2010 4:08pm

Alcohol has become increasingly affordable in New Zealand over the last decade and is now cheaper in some instances than bottled water, and close to the cost of milk, according to latest research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Clash of views on healthy food labelling

Friday, 15 October 2010 4:11pm

Food manufacturers and the public health sector are at loggerheads over front-of-pack nutrition labelling, according to an editorial in today’s issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal.

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Extensive indirect tobacco marketing on YouTube

Thursday, 26 August 2010 3:53pm

Just published research has found an extensive use of leading tobacco brand names and brand images on YouTube, closely associated with pro-smoking content or smoking imagery.

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Māori gains in cancer, but much to be done

Monday, 23 August 2010 3:54pm

A new report on Māori cancer trends by researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington shows progress in some areas, but that there is considerably more to be done to improve Māori health prospects.

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Unusual NZ testicular cancer trends revealed in new study

Tuesday, 29 June 2010 3:55pm

New Zealand has different patterns of testicular cancer occurrence compared to the rest of the developed world, particularly in relation to ethnicity, but also socio-economic status according to a new study from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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New Zealanders support an end to all tobacco sales by 2020

Friday, 29 January 2010 3:59pm

New research just published in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows strong support for an end to tobacco sales within 10 years, with significantly more New Zealanders agreeing to this than disagreeing.

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New tobacco tax strategy needed to reduce smoking

Friday, 29 January 2010 4:00pm

Efforts to reduce smoking in New Zealand have been undermined since 2001 by increased tobacco affordability due to increased average incomes and a failure to raise tobacco taxes above inflation, according to researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Comprehensive health recommendations published

Monday, 19 October 2009 3:58pm

Comprehensive recommendations to improve food security and increase physical activity have been made by a University of Otago and University of Auckland research consortium.

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New Professor of Public Health in Wellington appointed

Friday, 14 August 2009 4:01pm

One of New Zealand's leading tobacco control researchers has been appointed to the Chair in Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Primary Care and General Practice successful in helping those with mental health problems

Monday, 10 August 2009 12:15pm

GPs and other primary health care professionals can provide effective care to people suffering from a wide range of mental health problems, a new report has concluded.

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Smoking ban in cars supported by all types of smokers

Friday, 7 August 2009 12:17pm

A clear majority of New Zealand smokers across all socio-economic and ethnic groups support a ban on smoking in cars carrying pre-school children, according to latest research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Litter study identifies missed tobacco tax revenue

Tuesday, 4 August 2009 11:45am

A study of street-collected cigarette packs indicates the Government is missing out on at least $36 million dollars of tax because of the consumption of foreign duty free cigarettes and those purchased in other countries.

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New book offers solutions to obesity crisis and major public health issues

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 4:34pm

"Prevention is the best way to address the obesity crisis and reduce demands on the health system," says Dr Louise Signal from the University of Otago Wellington's Department of Public Health.