New research on National Healthy Food and Drink Policy

16 December 2019

A study funded by Healthier Lives will investigate and evaluate what food and drink options are available in New Zealand’s District Health Boards (DHBs) and how well the National Healthy Food and Drink Policy (the Policy) is working. The Policy supports and encourages providing healthier food and drink options in NZ DHBs and public sector institutions, but it is not mandatory.

In 2015 the Ministry of Health requested that New Zealand DHBs should have a healthy food and drink policy for staff and visitors. The Policy was developed by nutrition and public health representatives from all DHBs and the Ministry of Health, and has been implemented, to at least some extent, by a number of DHBs.

The aim of the new research is to find out how well the Policy has been implemented, and what its impact has been on food availability and purchases. It will also explore what resources are needed to support the further implementation of the policy and maximise its adoption by public sector institutions.

The project will also look at equity implications of the Policy for Māori, Pasifika and low-income New Zealanders.

The results will provide direct evidence of the Healthy Food and Drink Policy’s effectiveness as a national health promotion tool, and inform future improvements to enhance its implementation and impact at a population health level.

Healthier Lives Deputy Director Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu (University of Auckland) will lead this study.  She is pictured above with project manager Ms Jacqui Grey and co-investigators Dr Sarah Gerritsen (University of Auckland) and Dr Lisa Te Morenga (Victoria University of Wellington. Other co-investigators (not pictured) are Dr Sally Mackay, Dr Yannan Jiang and Ms Magda Rosin (University of Auckland).

 Healthy Food and Physical Activity Environments

This study sits within the Healthy Food and Physical Activity Environments research theme, one of three new themes in the Healthier Lives 2019-2024 research strategy.  At the heart of the strategy is our vision of Aotearoa New Zealand with equitable health outcomes and a substantially reduced burden of non-communicable diseases.

To improve health outcomes we need to work at many levels, from systems and policies that affect the health of the whole population, to effective approaches for particular communities, as well as interventions that take into account the genetic make-up and life experiences of individuals.

More information

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View our 2019-24 Research Strategy

He Pikinga Waiora Research Findings Brief

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