30 Dec 2018

A panel of experts discuss the practical and social dilemmas associated with tackling diet-related disease in New Zealand

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Photo: 123RF

At a Wellington symposium about diet-related disease, three experts – two from Auckland University and one from McDonald’s Restaurants NZ – discuss how to get New Zealanders eating more healthily. They debate current issues for the food industry which could be confronted by the threat of government regulation, whether sugar tax is the answer, and how junk food firms market responsibly to children. 

Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Kim Hill, Megan Tunks and Simon Kenny

Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Kim Hill, Megan Tunks and Simon Kenny Photo: University of Otago

About the participants

Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Cliona is Professor of Population Nutrition at the National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland. She is Director of the HRC-funded DIET programme, which evaluates the impact of population-level diet interventions and policies, including food taxes/subsidies, front-of-pack nutrition labels, healthier food reformulation, and marketing of unhealthy food to children. Cliona is also Principal Investigator of OL@-OR@, a project to co-design and evaluate a health promoting Health programme for Māori and Pasifika, and Deputy Director of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge.

Simon Kenny

Simon started with McDonald’s as Head of Communications in April 2011. He has responsibility for all aspects of McDonald’s external and internal communications in New Zealand and also manages McDonald’s social media, sponsorships and customer services team. Currently the chair for the council of the Association of New Zealand Advertisers, he has a Bachelor of Communications Studies from AUT.

Megan Tunks

Megan (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea) is the Kaiwhakahaere Matua or CEO of Toi Tangata. Toi Tangata, a Māori not for profit health provider (based in West Auckland) with a particular focus on nutrition and physical activity. She has a long background in Māori public health, planning and funding and workforce development, having previously held roles at the Health Promotion Agency, Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards, Hapai Te Hauora Tapui Ltd, the Health Promotion Forum, the Ministry of Health and Whariki Research Group.

More reading

The programme for the symposium

Papers presented at the symposium

Diet and the burden of disease - Prof Jim Mann

Diet and the burden of disease: a Māori perspective - Dr Lisa Te Morenga

The Need: Monitoring the healthiness of NZ food environments - Prof Boyd Swinburn

The Evidence: Evaluating the effectiveness of dietary interventions - Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu

The Priorities: BODE3 estimation of intervention impacts on health outcomes - Prof Tony Blakely

Packaged foods in New Zealand: INFORMAS monitoring results - Dr Sally Mackay

Healthier reformulation of processed foods: policies and opportunities - Dr Helen Eyles

Estimated impact of interventions to reduce salt consumption in New Zealand - Prof Nick Wilson

Food labelling in NZ: results from the INFORMAS study - Prof Boyd Swinburn

Consumer food purchases: the Starlight Randomised Trial - Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Food marketing to children in NZ:results from the INFORMAS studies - Prof Boyd Swinburn

Children's everyday exposure to food marketing: a wearable camera study - Prof Louise Signal

Food reformulation: the HSR system - Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu

Food prices in New Zealand: INFORMAS monitoring results - Dr Sally Mackay

Setting the scene internationally on food price policies: mostly taxes and subsidies - Prof Nick Wilson

A virtual supermarket experiment and consumer response to price changes - Prof Tony Blakely and Dr Nhung Nghiem

Changing food prices: effects on food and nutrient purchases and QALYs - Prof Tony Blakely

This session was recorded by RNZ in association with the Universities of Auckland and Otago, along with the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge.