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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

Pānui pāpāho

New research collaboration to fight cancer in New Zealand

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 8:57am

University of Otago cancer researchers are coming together in a new collaboration awarded a $2 million grant by the Cancer Society in a bid to better tackle a leading cause of death in New Zealand.

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Teenagers say ‘nope’ to dope

Friday, 16 August 2019 11:18am

New research from the University of Otago, Wellington, has shed light on the declining use of cannabis use by teens.

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Moving house related to behavioural difficulties in four-year-olds, study finds

Tuesday, 13 August 2019 12:02pm

Moving house is linked with increases in emotional and behavioural difficulties in four-year-olds, with the problems compounding each time a family moves, researchers have found.

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Massive potential health gains in switching to active transport – Otago study

Thursday, 18 July 2019 12:24pm

Swapping short car trips for walking or biking could achieve as much health gain as ongoing tobacco tax increases, according to a study from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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New data on e-cigarette use among New Zealand adults

Monday, 15 July 2019 12:59pm

Around one in six New Zealand adults have tried e-cigarettes but only 2 per cent are using them currently, a national survey has found.

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Eliminating waiting lists for cataract surgery prevents falls and is cost effective

Thursday, 4 July 2019 11:21am

Eliminating waiting times for cataract surgery would be a cost-effective health system intervention, largely driven by the falls prevention benefits related to improved vision, a just-published New Zealand study has found.

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Sugary drink taxes reduce consumption, major review shows

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 2:32pm

A 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks has cut the purchase and consumption of sugary drinks by an average of 10 per cent in places it has been introduced, a just published major review shows.

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Butting Out: Researchers gauge public opinion on tobacco product waste

Friday, 14 June 2019 11:25am

Requiring cigarettes to contain biodegradable filters, fining smokers who litter cigarette butts and expanding smoke free outdoor areas are measures the public considers are most likely to reduce tobacco product waste, new University of Otago research reveals.

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More awareness needed about lead exposure from firearms, researchers say

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 3:10pm

Researchers are warning that lead-based ammunition is posing a risk to firearms’ users and their families, with a culture of denial about the issue among the firearms community.

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Otago’s emerging researchers secure more than $1.7 million in HRC funding

Thursday, 16 May 2019 12:56pm

An occupational therapist who aims to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities is one of several University of Otago early-stage researchers who have together been awarded more than $1.7 million in Health Research Council funding.

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Otago alumna behind UK Government’s move to help cerebral palsy children walk

Wednesday, 1 May 2019 8:32am

An Otago alumna has led a study into spinal surgery for children with cerebral palsy in the UK, which has proven it helps them walk and reduces pain, triggering the UK Government to fund the procedure.

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Wood is good, research on 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake shows

Tuesday, 16 April 2019 9:52am

New research has found that only three per cent of deaths in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake occurred in people’s homes, almost all of which were at that time constructed from wood.

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Public health experts call for use of “tie-down” practice to be abolished in NZ prisons

Friday, 12 April 2019 11:31am

A University of Otago public health physician and researcher and her Australian colleague welcome news that the use of “tie-down” practice will be abolished in New Zealand prisons.

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Housing WOFs need to be combined with education, study shows

Tuesday, 9 April 2019 11:01am

Alongside funding and regulatory support, understanding how housing affects health and safety can spur owners to make improvements to their properties, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and WISE Better Homes have found.

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Otago researchers encourage New Zealanders to support Arms Amendment Bill

Wednesday, 3 April 2019 4:28pm

University of Otago firearms researchers are encouraging New Zealanders who are not gun owners to support MPs and political parties with the Arms Amendment Bill.

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Kiwi kids call for ban on junk food marketing

Friday, 29 March 2019 4:06pm

If Kiwi kids had the Prime Minister’s job for a day, many would ban junk food marketing, according to new research from the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Otago researchers call for urgent law change

Sunday, 17 March 2019 12:25pm

Firearms law changes promised by the Prime Minister are long overdue, according to experts in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Marie Russell and Dr Hera Cook.

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Liberal access to e-cigarettes likely to bring health benefits, NZ study finds

Tuesday, 12 March 2019 11:16am

New Zealand’s approach of allowing wide access to e-cigarettes is likely to be bringing overall health gains and cost savings for the health system, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

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‘Invisible wounds’ may have cut WWII veterans’ lives short

Friday, 8 March 2019 9:08am

Kiwi men who were veterans of World War II appear to have had a shorter lifespan than other New Zealand men who were born at the same time, new research shows.

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New WHO housing and health guidelines could save millions each year

Monday, 25 February 2019 3:00pm

Preventable injuries and hospitalisations due solely to poor housing conditions in New Zealand could be costing more than $145 million annually in ACC claims and hospitalisation costs, according to new research.

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Train station signs send weak smokefree signal

Friday, 22 February 2019 9:58am

More than 20 per cent of the 54 railway stations in the lower North Island have no smokefree signs at all and many others have signs of poor quality, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

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Surprise te reo Māori finding in pre-diabetes research

Monday, 18 February 2019 2:27pm

New research from the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge has found people who speak te reo Māori have a reduced risk of progressing from pre-diabetes to diabetes.

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New Zealand leads global effort to control rheumatic fever

Monday, 11 February 2019 4:20pm

A three-year project aimed at pinpointing the most effective ways to prevent and control rheumatic fever and associated heart disease in New Zealand is being launched tomorrow (Tuesday 12 February) at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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One plus one equals more than two for health expenditure in patients with multiple conditions, study finds

Wednesday, 9 January 2019 1:27pm

Caring for patients with two or more chronic diseases costs the health system more than it would to treat each disease in isolation, a new study has shown.

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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 9:07am

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 9:17am

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.