The Healthier Lives - He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge is a collaborative national research programme.
We aim to improve the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and achieve equitable health outcomes in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our vision is of Aotearoa New Zealand with equitable health outcomes and a substantially reduced burden of non-communicable diseases.
Tō mātou kitenga kia noho a Aotearoa New Zealand hei whenua he ōrite ngā putanga hua hauora mō te tangata, kia iti iho hoki ngā pīkauranga o ngā māuiui kāore e taea te tuku ki te tangata kē.
Non-communicable diseases (also known as chronic diseases or long-term conditions) are the leading cause of premature death and disability in New Zealand and worldwide.
There has been a huge increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) over the last 50 years. Factors such as environment, genes, lifestyle and social connections all play a part. There is growing recognition that we need to tackle NCDs at a number of levels: societal, community, family and individual.
Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are four of the major NCDs, which together account for well over a third of total death and disability in New Zealand. These diseases share some common risk factors, many of which are preventable, including poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.
These four diseases cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and the personal loss of lives cut short is incalculable.
They are associated with significant and unacceptable health inequities for Māori and Pacific peoples, those living in rural and isolated areas, and people living with deprivation.
We already know a lot about NCDs but translating this knowledge into practice is not easy. That’s why Healthier Lives is focusing its efforts on better ways to prevent these four diseases, and better ways to treat those who suffer from them.
Collaboration occurs at every level of Healthier Lives
- 10 of New Zealand’s leading research institutions are Challenge Parties.
- Healthier Lives has a unique model of co-governance.
- The day-to-day running of the Challenge is led by a management group, supported by a small operations team.
- The Science Leadership Team includes scientists from across the country with expertise in many aspects of non-communicable diseases.
- A wide range of stakeholders are involved in helping to set the Challenge research agenda and implement research findings.
- Multi-disciplinary research teams are drawn from universities, crown research institutes, health providers, non-government organisations and community groups.
- The International Science Advisory Panel, made up of world-leading researchers, offers an international perspective to ensure the Challenge is undertaking cutting-edge science for the benefit of Aoteaora New Zealand.