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Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit launched

Thursday 1 November 2007

Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit launched

Nutrition, tobacco control and equity in health will be the focus of New Zealand’s first Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit to be launched on Friday November 2 at the University of Otago, Wellington.

The launch will take place in the small lecture theatre at the University of Otago Wellington, Level D, at midday.

The Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit (HePPRU) will work in collaboration with policy makers and advocates to advance the health of New Zealanders through independent research, teaching and community service. It aims to foster excellence in research into health promotion and public health policy. Directors are Dr Louise Signal and Dr Richard Edwards

“The unit will draw together research strengths of the Department of Public Health initially in two areas; tobacco control and nutrition and obesity, “says Dr Edwards. “We’re interested in effective policy in these and other important public health areas through the application of independent research findings.”

Members of the Unit have already contributed widely to public health policy with their research into:

• Policy interventions to promote healthy eating and action
• Environmental influences on food and nutrition related behaviours
• The politics of food and nutrition
• Tackling health inequalities through health promotion and policy
• Tobacco control policies such as smoke-free environments, taxation, point-of- sale
• Denormalising of the tobacco industry and increased market regulation.

More recently the HePPRU has been awarded grants to study the health projects below.

• Perceptions of policymakers and stakeholders to key tobacco control policies (HRC)
• Influences on smoking uptake and secondhand smoke exposure among young people (HRC)
• Best practice in advocating innovative and radical tobacco control policies
• Barriers, supports, and effective policy options to promoting healthy childhood nutrition in primary schools (NHF)
• The feasibility of front-of-pack nutrition information. (with Auckland University)
• Enhancing food security and physical activity for Maori, Pacific and low income families. (with Auckland University)

The unit is committed to Treaty-based research and uses the Ottawa Charter as a working framework.

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