Find­ing healthy food

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A new study will soon be un­der way to find the most ef­fec­tive ways to im­prove New Zealand’s healthy food choices.

The five-year pro­ject is led by as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Cliona Ni Mhurchu from the National In­sti­tute for Health In­no­va­tion at the Univer­sity of Auck­land’s School of Pop­u­la­tion and Health.

The team will also in­clude lead­ing re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Auck­land and Otago Univer­sity, as well as in­put from the Ge­orge In­sti­tute for Global Health and Ox­ford Univer­sity.

‘‘Sup­port­ing peo­ple to make health­ier food choices has im­por­tant health ben­e­fits,’’ Dr Ni Mhurchu says.

‘‘We aim to pro­duce world-lead­ing com­pre­hen­sive ev­i­dence on ef­fec­tive strate­gies to sup­port health­ier di­ets.’’

The re­search pro­gramme has gained nearly $5 mil­lion fund­ing in the Health Re­search Coun­cil’s lat­est round, to in­ves­ti­gate ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tions and poli­cies to im­prove pop­u­la­tion nu­tri­tion and health.

The study will as­sess the im­pact of dif­fer­ent ways to im­prove di­ets such as the in­tro­duc­tion of front-of-pack nu­tri­tion la­bels, pric­ing changes to make healthy food more ac­ces­si­ble and chang­ing the com­po­si­tion of foods to re­duce salt and sat­u­rated fat.

‘‘We live in obe­so­genic en­vi­ron­ments, and pric­ing of food is a ma­jor fac­tor,’’ Dr Ni Mhurchu says.

‘‘Soda taxes, sat­u­rated fat taxes and healthy food sub­si­dies are in­creas­ingly pro­posed as a pol­icy re­sponse to poor nu­tri­tion, and de­ter­min­ing the health ef­fect and cost of th­ese, and other price mech­a­nisms, is a key pol­icy is­sue.’’

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