DIET: Helping to improve nutrition and health in New Zealand

Unhealthy diet is the leading preventable risk for poor health. Dietary risk factors (e.g. high salt intake, raw wholegrain intake and low fruit and vegetable consumption) and obesity rates are higher amongst Māori and Pasifika and key drivers of health inequalities. However, small improvements in diet across the whole population could produce major health gains and cost savings, and reduce inequalities.

The DIET programme will evaluate the effects of four priority action areas to improve diets. The objectives are to:

  1. Determine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a dietary salt reduction intervention in adults with high blood pressure
  2. Co-design and test commercially sustainable supermarket intervention(s) to promote healthy eating
  3. Measure the impact of front-of-pack nutrition labels (Health Star Rating- HSR) on population diets
  4. Assess the effects of a theory-driven campaign to promote improvements to the nutritional composition of processed foods

This new research extends our previous work, with a particular emphasis on practical interventions and translating findings into policy and action. The programme is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.


Find out more about our exciting projects

SALTS - Salt ALTernatives Study
Co-designing and testing retail interventions
Health Star Rating Evaluation

Latest News

If you would like to find out more, there is an episode from True Story, Sweet As featuring Dr. Helen Eyles and Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu that investigates sugar and its connection to the obesity epidemic. Click here for the podcast.

This study investigated the effects of Front-of-Pack labelling (FoPL) on the quantity of foods and different nutrients purchased. To read more click here.
Congratulations to Professor Tony Blakely, DIET Programme Co-Director, whose paper was awarded the runner-up best paper prize in the Economic Record journal”. To read this publication please click here.

Congratulations to Professor Boyd Swinburn, DIET Programme Co-Director on his recent prestigious awards including WPT James Award of Public Health Research and International award from the World Obesity Federation.

In addition Professor Swinburn is also the Gluckman Medal Recipient for 2022 from the University of Auckland which recognises his outstanding research contributions.