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Healthy choices critical for healthy lifestyle

Healthy choices critical for healthy lifestyle of New Zealanders, UC expert says


Health information on New Zealand’s food labels is poor in helping people decide what is healthy or not, a University of Canterbury (UC) marketing expert says.

Associate Professor Ekant Veer says New Zealand has a great reputation for being open about what is in the food and drinks they buy in shops and supermarkets.

``Labels show all the ingredients and all the nutritional information, the problem is many people in New Zealand are not able to understand what is good for them and what is not.

``They may have an impression of what is good or bad but actually making a coherent decision as a result of the label information is not as effective.’’

Professor Veer will give the first UC What if Wednesday public lecture of the year on campus next week (March 12) to talk about how health campaigns can be improved. See here for details: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/wiw/.

He and his team have researched different ways to provide more effective, healthier choices for consumers and ways to drive behavioural change, rather than just educating people about what is right or wrong.

``Knowing what the right thing to do is far different from actually doing the right thing. Many people know that smoking or binge drinking is not good for their health, but continue to do so.”

``In my work, I look to understand far more about how and why people’s behaviour doesn’t change and use this as a basis for encouraging positive behavioural change.

``As the overwhelmingly high obesity rates in New Zealand continue to climb, something needs to be done to improve the health of our society. Our research provides us with valuable insight into understanding consumption behaviours associated with food labels. New Zealand still has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.

`` Making people care about their health and care about making healthy choices is also needed to encourage a healthier life. Education is not just good enough. We need to do more than that and will explain what should be done in the lecture.

``My talk will help those working in health promotion and also those looking to understand behavioural change practices and consumer welfare.”

See a YouTube preview of Professor Veer’s lecture here: http://youtu.be/gIcHm_7VPiE.

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