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Anja Mizdrak, Department of Public Health

Anja Mizdrak image 2020DPhil
Senior Research Fellow

Contact details 

Tel +64 4 918 6192
Email anja.mizdrak@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities 

Dr Anja Mizdrak is a public health researcher who specialises in quantitative modelling. Her work has covered multiple topics including alcohol, transport, physical activity, COVID-19, and nutrition. Anja is interested in the role of modelling in public health policy and practice, and the wider societal impacts of health behaviours and interventions, such as impacts on inequities and the environment. She currently works across multiple projects including:

  • Seeking the Transport Sweet Spot: health, equity, and zero carbon (led by Associate Professor Caroline Shaw)
  • Prioritising Māori health and equity: a critical approach to modelling (led by Dr Melissa McLeod)

Anja joined the University of Otago in 2017 to work on the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE³). Prior to joining the University, Anja completed her PhD which investigated the impact of health-related food taxes and subsidies in the UK, specifically focusing on differential impacts by household income. Anja’s interest in public health began during her undergraduate degree in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford.

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Publications

Darrah, T., Waa, A., Mizdrak, A., & Jones, A. C. (2021). Māori perspectives on alcohol: A narrative review. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 14(1), 51-64. doi: 10.5204/ijcis.v14i1.1809

Mizdrak, A., Ding, D., Cleghorn, C., Blakely, T., & Richards, J. (2021). Quantifying the health and economic impacts of meeting the Global Action Plan for Physical Activity target. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Annual Meeting (ISBNPA XChange): Thinking Independently Together: Let's Dance Around the World. (pp. 568). International Society of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://isbnpa2021.venuewest.com

Wilson, N., Grout, L., Summers, J., Jones, A. C., Mizdrak, A., Nghiem, N., Cleghorn, C., & Blakely, T. (2021). Should prioritising health interventions be informed by modelling studies? The case of cancer control in Aotearoa New Zealand [Viewpoint]. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1531), 101-113. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Mizdrak, A., Shaw, C., Lynch, B., & Richards, J. (2021). The potential of school-based physical education to increase physical activity in Aotearoa New Zealand children and young people: A modelling study. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1531), 23-35. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Andersen, P., Mizdrak, A., Wilson, N., Davies, A., Bablani, L., & Blakely, T. (2021). Disaggregating proportional multistate lifetables by population heterogeneity to estimate intervention impacts on inequalities. medRxiv. doi: 10.1101/2021.01.24.21250411

Andersen, P., Mizdrak, A., Wilson, N., Davies, A., Bablani, L., & Blakely, T. (2021). Disaggregating proportional multistate lifetables by population heterogeneity to estimate intervention impacts on inequalities. medRxiv. doi: 10.1101/2021.01.24.21250411

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Cleghorn, C., Mizdrak, A., & Wilson, N. (2020). Health gains, health inequality impacts, and health system cost savings–associated with modelled reductions in type 2 diabetes incidence. Wellington, New Zealand: University of Otago. 22p. [Technical/Scientific Report].

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Telfer, K., Wilson, N., Direito, A., & Mizdrak, A. (2020). Technical report for BODE3 intervention parameter selection: Mobile health for physical activity: Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE3) [Public Health Monograph Series No. 38: Version 1.0]. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Public Health, University of Otago. 11p. [Technical/Scientific Report].

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Blakely, T., Nghiem, N., Genc, M., Mizdrak, A., Cobiac, L., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Cleghorn, C. (2019). Modelling the health impact of food taxes and subsidies with price elasticities: The case for additional scaling of food consumption using the total food expenditure elasticity. arXiv. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.13179

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Cleghorn, C., Blakely, T., Jones, A., Kvizhinadze, G., Mizdrak, A., Nghiem, N., Ni Mhurchu, C., & Wilson, N. (2019). Feasible diet intervention options to improve health and save costs for the New Zealand population. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Public Health, University of Otago. 13p. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/departments/publichealth

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Wilson, N., Blakely, T., Nghiem, N., Cleghorn, C., Kvizhinadze, G., Atkinson, J., Nair, N., Mizdrak, A., & van der Deen, F. S. (2017). Guide for ensuring high quality of modelling outputs in the BODE3 programme. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Public Health, University of Otago. 22p. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/departments/publichealth

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Rayner, M., Mizdrak, A., Logstrup, S., & Kestens, M. (2013). Reducing children’s exposure to marketing of foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar: What would be the best nutrient profile model? European Heart Network. 34p. Retrieved from http://www.ehnheart.org

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Wilson, N., Chambers, T., Kvalsvig, A., Mizdrak, A., Nghiem, N., Summers, J., Baker, M. (2020, July). NZ's "Team of 5 million" has achieved the lowest COVID-19 death rate in the OECD: But there are still gaps in our pandemic response. Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/07/22/nzs-team-of-5-million-has-achieved-the-lowest-covid-19-death-rate-in-the-oecd-but-there-are-still-gaps-in-our-pandemic-response

Other Research Output

Wilson, N., Mizdrak, A., Summers, J., Baker, M. (2020, July). Weekly deaths declined in NZ's lockdown: But we still don’t know exactly why. Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/07/10/weekly-deaths-declined-in-nzs-lockdown-but-we-still-dont-know-exactly-why

Other Research Output

Blakely, T., Wilson, N., Mizdrak, A., Cleghorn, C. (2018, April). And now the Brits are doing it: A sugary drink tax levy on the industry. Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert

Other Research Output

Wilson, N., Blakely, T., Jones, A., Cobiac, L., Nghiem, N, Mizdrak, A, & Cleghorn, C. (2018, April). A public health perspective on taxing harmful products University of Otago Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2018/04/16/a-public-health-perspective-on-taxing-harmful-products

Other Research Output

Mizdrak, A., & Ritchie, A. J. (2017). Health and well-being in urban environments. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Building sustainable cities of the future. (pp. 99-115). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-54458-8

Chapter in Book - Research

Darrah, T., Waa, A., Mizdrak, A., & Jones, A. C. (2021). Māori perspectives on alcohol: A narrative review. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 14(1), 51-64. doi: 10.5204/ijcis.v14i1.1809

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Ding, D., Cleghorn, C., Blakely, T., & Richards, J. (2021). Hitting the target but missing the point? Modelling health and economic impacts of different approaches to meeting the global action plan for physical activity target. Sports Medicine. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s40279-020-01398-2

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Shaw, C., Lynch, B., & Richards, J. (2021). The potential of school-based physical education to increase physical activity in Aotearoa New Zealand children and young people: A modelling study. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1531), 23-35. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Article

Blakely, T., Cleghorn, C., Mizdrak, A., Waterlander, W., Nghiem, N., Swinburn, B., Wilson, N., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2020). The effect of food taxes and subsidies on population health and health costs: A modelling study. Lancet Public Health, 5(7), e404-e413. doi: 10.1016/s2468-2667(20)30116-x

Journal - Research Article

Blakely, T., Cleghorn, C., Petrović-van der Deen, F., Cobiac, L. J., Mizdrak, A., Mackenbach, J. P., … Wilson, N. (2020). Prospective impact of tobacco eradication and overweight and obesity eradication on future morbidity and health-adjusted life expectancy: Simulation study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 74, 354-361. doi: 10.1136/jech-2019-213091

Journal - Research Article

Blakely, T., Moss, R., Collins, J., Mizdrak, A., Singh, A., Carvalho, N., Wilson, N., … Flaxman, A. (2020). Proportional multistate lifetable modelling of preventive interventions: Concepts, code and worked examples. International Journal of Epidemiology, 49(5), 1624-1636. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa132

Journal - Research Article

Blakely, T., Nghiem, N., Genc, M., Mizdrak, A., Cobiac, L., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Cleghorn, C. (2020). Modelling the health impact of food taxes and subsidies with price elasticities: The case for additional scaling of food consumption using the total food expenditure elasticity. PLoS ONE, 15(3), e0230506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230506

Journal - Research Article

Drew, J., Cleghorn, C., Macmillan, A., & Mizdrak, A. (2020). Healthy and climate-friendly eating patterns in the New Zealand context. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(1), 017007. doi: 10.1289/ehp5996

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Cobiac, L. J., Cleghorn, C. L., Woodward, A., & Blakely, T. (2020). Fuelling walking and cycling: Human powered locomotion is associated with non-negligible greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 9196. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66170-y

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Telfer, K., Direito, A., Cobiac, L. J., Blakely, T., Cleghorn, C. L., & Wilson, N. (2020). Health gain, cost impacts, and cost-effectiveness of a mass media campaign to promote smartphone apps for physical activity: Modeling study. JMIR mHealth & uHealth, 8(6), e18014. doi: 10.2196/18014

Journal - Research Article

Cobiac, L. J., Mizdrak, A., & Wilson, N. (2019). Cost-effectiveness of raising alcohol excise taxes to reduce the injury burden of road traffic crashes. Injury Prevention, 25, 421-427. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2018-042914

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Blakely, T., Cleghorn, C. L., & Cobiac, L. J. (2019). Potential of active transport to improve health, reduce healthcare costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions: A modelling study. PLoS ONE, 14(7), e0129316. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219316

Journal - Research Article

Nghiem, N., Knight, J., Mizdrak, A., Blakely, T., & Wilson, N. (2019). Preventive pharmacotherapy for cardiovascular disease: A modelling study considering health gain, costs, and cost-effectiveness when stratifying by absolute risk. Scientific Reports, 9, 19562. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55372-8

Journal - Research Article

Teng, A. M., Jones, A. C., Mizdrak, A., Signal, L., Genç, M., & Wilson, N. (2019). Impact of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes on purchases and dietary intake: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 20, 1187-1204. doi: 10.1111/obr.12868

Journal - Research Article

Wilson, N., Cleghorn, C. L., Cobiac, L. J., Mizdrak, A., & Nghiem, N. (2019). Achieving healthy and sustainable diets: A review of the results of recent mathematical optimization studies. Advances in Nutrition, 10(Suppl. 4), S389-S403. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz037

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Waterlander, W. E., Rayner, M., & Scarborough, P. (2017). Using a UK virtual supermarket to examine purchasing behavior across different income groups in the United Kingdom: Development and feasibility study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(10), e343. doi: 10.2196/jmir.7982

Journal - Research Article

Scarborough, P., Smolina, K., Mizdrak, A., Cobiac, L., & Briggs, A. (2016). Assessing the external validity of model-based estimates of the incidence of heart attack in England: A modelling study. BMC Public Health, 16, 1135. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3782-6

Journal - Research Article

Kaur, A., Scarborough, P., Matthews, A., Payne, S., Mizdrak, A., & Rayner, M. (2015). How many foods in the UK carry health and nutrition claims, and are they healthier than those that do not? Public Health Nutrition, 19(6), 988-997. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015002104

Journal - Research Article

Mizdrak, A., Scarborough, P., Waterlander, W. E., & Rayner, M. (2015). Differential responses to food price changes by personal characteristic: A systematic review of experimental studies. PLoS ONE, 10(7), e0130320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130320

Journal - Research Article

Monsivais, P., Scarborough, P., Lloyd, T., Mizdrak, A., Luben, R., Mulligan, A. A., … Woodcock, J. (2015). Greater accordance with the dietary approaches to stop hypertension dietary pattern is associated with lower diet-related greenhouse gas production but higher dietary costs in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(1), 138-145. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.090639

Journal - Research Article

Ni Mhurchu, C., Eyles, H., Genc, M., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Mizdrak, A., … Blakely, T. (2015). Effects of health-related food taxes and subsidies on mortality from diet-related disease in New Zealand: An econometric-epidemiologic modelling study. PLoS ONE, 10(7), e0128477. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128477

Journal - Research Article

Kelly, P., Doherty, A., Mizdrak, A., Marshall, S., Kerr, J., Legge, A., … Foster, C. (2014). High group-level validity but high random error of a self-report travel diary, as assessed by wearable cameras. Journal of Transport & Health, 1(3), 190-201. doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2014.04.003

Journal - Research Article

Scarborough, P., Appleby, P. N., Mizdrak, A., Briggs, A. D. M., Travis, R. C., Bradbury, K. E., & Key, T. J. (2014). Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Climatic Change, 125(2), 179-192. doi: 10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1

Journal - Research Article

Scarborough, P., Harrington, R. A., Mizdrak, A., Zhou, L. M., & Doherty, A. (2014). The Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl and its used to estimate the health impact of public health policy scenarios. Scientifica, 2014, 748750. doi: 10.1155/2014/748750

Journal - Research Article

Briggs, A. D. M., Mizdrak, A., & Scarborough, P. (2013). A statin a day keeps the doctor away: Comparative proverb assessment modelling study. BMJ, 347, F7267. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f7267

Journal - Research Article

Scarborough, P., Payne, C., Agu, C. G., Kaur, A., Mizdrak, A., Rayner, M., … Boyland, E. (2013). How important is the choice of the nutrient profile model used to regulate broadcast advertising of foods to children? A comparison using a targeted data set. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67, 815-820. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.112

Journal - Research Article

Wilson, N., Grout, L., Summers, J., Jones, A. C., Mizdrak, A., Nghiem, N., Cleghorn, C., & Blakely, T. (2021). Should prioritising health interventions be informed by modelling studies? The case of cancer control in Aotearoa New Zealand [Viewpoint]. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1531), 101-113. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Nghiem, N., Mizdrak, A., & Wilson, N. (2020). Increased unemployment from the COVID-19 pandemic, what might be the adverse impacts on cardiovascular disease in Aotearoa/New Zealand and how might this be prevented? New Zealand Medical Journal, 133(1526), 89-98. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Scarborough, P., Hodgkins, C., Raats, M. M., Harrington, R. A., Cowburn, G., Dean, M., … Mizdrak, A., … Rayner, M. (2015). Protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial of an intervention to increase the use of traffic light food labelling in UK shoppers (in the FLICC trial). Pilot & Feasibility Studies, 1, 21. doi: 10.1186/s40814-015-0015-1

Journal - Research Other

Mizdrak, A., Ding, D., Cleghorn, C., Blakely, T., & Richards, J. (2021). Quantifying the health and economic impacts of meeting the Global Action Plan for Physical Activity target. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity Annual Meeting (ISBNPA XChange): Thinking Independently Together: Let's Dance Around the World. (pp. 568). International Society of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://isbnpa2021.venuewest.com

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Mizdrak, A. (2019). Modelling the potential impact of active transport on health, healthcare costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. Proceedings of the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion. Retrieved from http://www.iuhpe2019.com

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Mizdrak, A., Scarborough, P., & Briggs, A. (2016). The impact of meeting dietary guidelines on UK mortality: A comparative risk assessment modelling study. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 15th Annual Scientific Meeting. (pp. 254). ISBNPA. Retrieved from https://www.isbnpa.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Ni Mhurchu, C., Eyles, H., Genc, M., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Mizdrak, A., & Blakely, T. (2015). Effects of health-related food taxes and subsidies on mortality from diet-related disease in New Zealand: A comparative risk assessment modelling study. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Meeting. (pp. 90). Retrieved from http://eventmobi.com/isbnpa2015/documents/103270

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Ni Mhurchu, C., Eyles, H., Genc, M., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Mizdrak, A., … Blakely, T. (2014). Estimated effects of health-related food taxes and subsidies on mortality from non-communicable disease in New Zealand. Proceedings of the New Zealand Population Health Congress: Connecting Communities, Policy and Science. (pp. 88). Retrieved from http://www.pophealthcongress.org.nz/nzphc14/programme/programme

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Mizdrak, A., Smed, S., Waterlander, W., Rayner, M., & Scarborough, P. (2017, June). The differential impact of selected health-related food taxes and subsidies in the UK: An econometric-epidemiological modelling study. Verbal presentation at the 16th Scientific Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Victoria, Canada.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Mizdrak, A. (2016, December). The feasibility of using a UK virtual supermarket to examine differences in purchasing behaviour across income groups. Verbal presentation at the 12th UK Society for Behavioural Medicine (UKSBM) Annual Scientific Meeting: Complex Interventions in a Complex World: Applications of Behavioural Medicine, Cardiff, UK.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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