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
Promoting improvements to processed foods

Latest News

Results from the Price ExAM Virtual Supermarket RCT (a study in our previous DIET programme) were published:
The Lancet Public Health, August 2019

We held a very successful symposium in Wellington on the 4th September 2018, ‘Tackling Diet-related Disease in NZ’, to share results of our 5-year research programme with key stakeholders.
Fleshing out just what influences buying behaviour when it comes to food, will keep Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu and a team of leading nutrition researchers across New Zealand and Australia very busy over the next five years.
A study testing the impact of New Zealand's health star ratings on packaged foods is being granted $5million.