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Recent media releases from The Department of Public Health

Pānui pāpāho

Pānui pāpāho

Bars facilitating smoking in young adults, study shows

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 11:29am

Designated outdoor smoking areas in bars are facilitating experimentation and tobacco use among young adults, a new study has found.

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Otago researchers secure $17.5m in Marsden funding

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 10:26am

University of Otago researchers have secured $17.5 million in Marsden funding for 30 world-class research projects.

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Eliminating COVID-19: what the world can learn from NZ and Taiwan

Thursday, 22 October 2020 9:34am

Both Taiwan and New Zealand have successfully eliminated COVID-19 with world-leading pandemic responses. By taking a particularly proactive approach, Taiwan’s response was probably the most effective and least disruptive of any country’s, researchers say.

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School zoning could increase adolescent exercise rates, Otago researcher

Monday, 12 October 2020 12:39pm

If effective school zoning policies were widely applied, more adolescents would get valuable exercise walking or cycling to their nearest school, an Otago researcher says.

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Public health experts urge a ‘yes’ vote in cannabis referendum

Friday, 9 October 2020 1:21pm

Leading specialists in addiction treatment, public health, health promotion and epidemiology are calling on New Zealanders to vote for cannabis law reform in the current referendum.

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Smokers increasingly using e-cigarettes to quit, survey shows

Friday, 18 September 2020 9:03am

People who smoke are increasingly using e-cigarettes to try to quit smoking, a study by researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

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Otago research rewarded with NZ$27.4 million in Endeavour Fund grants

Friday, 11 September 2020 4:12pm

Two University of Otago proposals have been awarded over NZ$27 million in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Endeavour Fund 2020 grants.

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6 months after New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case, it’s time for a more strategic approach.

Thursday, 27 August 2020 12:32pm

This week marks six months since New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case was identified on February 26.

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Otago experts deemed ‘critic and conscience’ of society

Monday, 3 August 2020 11:53am

For the first time, the Gama Foundation has recognised two people at once for their efforts in being the ‘Critic and Conscience of Society’ – both University of Otago academic staff members.

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Smokers support Smokefree 2025 goal and measures to help achieve it

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 10:30am

Most people who smoke or have recently quit smoking support New Zealand’s goal of becoming a smokefree nation by 2025, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington have found.

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Food taxes and subsidies would bring major health gains, study shows

Wednesday, 1 July 2020 1:27pm

A consumer tax on the saturated fat, salt and sugar content of food, accompanied by a 20 per cent subsidy on fruit and vegetables, would bring major benefits for the health sector, researchers from Otago, Auckland and Melbourne Universities say.

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Otago scientists secure more than $26m for health research

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 2:21pm

University of Otago, Wellington infectious diseases expert Professor Michael Baker has received almost $5 million from the Health Research Council for a programme investigating the connection between infectious diseases and long-term conditions, something he was planning well prior to the outbreak of Covid-19.

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NZ’s long history of decapitations and paint attacks on public statues: new study

Tuesday, 16 June 2020 2:33pm

Controversy over public statues is nothing new, with protestors taking to New Zealand’s statues with a range of weapons including an axe, a concrete cutter and a hammer over recent decades, a study by researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

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Fuel walking and cycling with low carbon diets, researchers say

Friday, 12 June 2020 11:18am

Walking and cycling have many benefits and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but researchers say we need to think about what people eat to fuel their walking and cycling.

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Women generate lower travel-related greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:39am

Women use more diverse modes of travel and generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than men, despite men being more than twice as likely to travel by bike, a New Zealand study has found.

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New Zealand hits zero active coronavirus cases. Here are 5 measures to keep it that way

Monday, 8 June 2020 3:44pm

Today, for the first time since February 28, New Zealand has no active cases of COVID-19.

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Protecting young people from smoking uptake as the tobacco industry targets a new generation

Friday, 29 May 2020 11:28am

The tobacco industry is targeting a new generation of smokers with sophisticated marketing designed to associate smoking with rebellion, social prestige and attractiveness, researchers from the tobacco control research centre ASPIRE 2025, at the University of Otago, say.

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New insights into vaping uptake among Māori and Pacific peoples

Monday, 25 May 2020 11:08am

Māori and Pasifika who have not been able to quit smoking may need more support to move from smoking to vaping, researchers from the University of Otago and Māori public health collective Hāpai Te Hauora have found.

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Otago researchers making major contribution to Covid-19 response

Friday, 17 April 2020 12:35pm

A University of Otago molecular biologist has received new Government funding of $235,746 for Covid-19 related research to develop an effective point-of-care test for the infectious disease.

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Smokers turned off by plain packs, survey shows

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 12:47pm

Plain packaging is making tobacco products less appealing and warning labels more noticeable, researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.

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Tougher rules needed to prevent lead poisoning of shooters: researcher

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 8:37am

The Government must impose tougher regulations on indoor firing ranges to keep shooters and their families safe from lead poisoning, says a public health researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus

Friday, 20 March 2020 11:39am

With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Evidence clearly favours taxing sugary drinks – new study

Friday, 13 March 2020 3:42pm

New Zealand should follow the UK and more than 30 other countries in introducing a tax on sugary drinks to tackle obesity and reduce deaths from chronic diseases, leading researchers say.

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New Zealand must learn lessons from China’s success in managing Covid-19

Monday, 9 March 2020 10:42am

While the world has been focused on Covid-19’s spread to new countries many might not have noticed that the outbreak in China is slowly being brought under control.

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COVID-19 has now reached New Zealand. How prepared is it to deal with a pandemic?

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 12:29pm

New Zealand joined 48 other countries affected by the novel coronavirus last week when health authorities confirmed the first COVID-19 case.

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Damp and mouldy housing new measure in latest deprivation index

Thursday, 30 January 2020 2:11pm

Damp and mouldy housing has been included as an indicator of socioeconomic deprivation in New Zealand by University of Otago researchers developing the latest version of the New Zealand Index of Socioeconomic Deprivation (NZDep2018).

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What does the coronavirus epidemic mean for New Zealand?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 2:26pm

Unlike armed conflict, here we are fighting an external threat to global health where collaboration and sharing of information benefits all nations.

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Cycling to work? You may live longer

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 11:52am

People who cycle to work have a lower risk of dying, a New Zealand study has found.

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Untimely access to diagnosis not main reason why Māori are dying of cancer: Otago research

Monday, 20 January 2020 11:50am

Māori have poorer access to early diagnosis for some key cancers including breast and colorectal cancers though, this is not the case for all cancers and is not necessarily why more Māori are dying of cancer, new University of Otago research shows.

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Sharp drop in birth rate as a result of miscarriages in 1918 flu pandemic, study finds

Monday, 16 December 2019 11:05am

The 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand resulted in thousands of fewer births, particularly in the 1919 year, largely because of miscarriages from influenza infection during pregnancy, researchers have found.

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Uncontrolled online marketing of e-cigarettes putting youth at risk, study finds

Friday, 29 November 2019 11:06am

Only 10 per cent of New Zealand websites selling vaping products require proof of age before purchase, researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington, have found.