Research update: HYPE (HealthY Policy Evaluation)

28 September 2023

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The National Healthy Food and Drink Policy, developed by the National Food & Drink Environments Network in partnership with the Ministry of Health, is one of the few New Zealand policies that aims to improve our food environment. It was adopted as a voluntary policy in 2016 by the previous District Health Boards and some central government agencies.  In 2020, Healthier Lives commissioned Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu and her team to evaluate the implementation and impact of this Policy.

The HYPE (HealthY Policy Evaluation) study found that the voluntary policy was not effective in ensuring provision of healthier food and drink options in New Zealand hospitals and health sector organisations, and recommended that a mandatory policy be implemented.  With assistance from HYPE researcher and dietitian Magda Rosin, Te Whatu Ora is now working to develop and implement a mandatory food and drink policy using the results and tools developed in the HYPE study.

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The working group charged with updating the Policy is now engaging with retailers and food service providers to gather their opinions on the current version of the Policy, find out what support they need to implement it, and identify sustainability initiatives that could be supported. The update of the Policy includes assessing the current food supply and evaluating products that are available as well as obtaining detailed nutrient and cost analyses of the typical foods/drinks supplied to the Te Whatu Ora facilities. The working group will also compare Policy criteria with similar policies adopted in Australia and engage with Māori stakeholders to ensure that the updated Policy honours and upholds Te Tiriti.

The research team recently published a scoping review of grey literature about the tools and resources used to support implementation of workplace healthy food and drink policies in several English-speaking countries.

Tools and resources used to support implementation of workplace healthy food and drink policies: A scoping review of grey literature. Rosin M, Mackay S , Ni Mhurchu C. Nutrition & dietetics: the journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia, 2023, 10.1111/1747-0080.12844

Read more about the HYPE project on their project page.

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