Finding healthy food
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.’’