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Research menu for healthier population

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Nutrition researchers on diet-related disease say voluntary codes aren't working and strong government action is needed to help New Zealanders lead healthier lives.

A symposium in Wellington this week heard New Zealand has the third highest levels of obesity in the OECD.

Professor Jim Mann, the director of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, says despite encouraging recent trends, rates of diet-related disease remain high and are major contributors to inequity of health outcomes in New Zealand.

Deputy director Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu from the University of Auckland called for a government-led reformulation programme to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats in New Zealand packaged and processed foods.

The researchers recommend a nationwide healthy food policy for all schools building on the DHB healthy food policy that hospitals are currently adopting.

There was also support for a sugary drinks tax, which international research indicates is highly cost-effective.

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