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

New research commissioned by the Stroke Foundation with the DIET Programme Team found out that a wide range of sausages including kranskys, hotdogs, and meat-free products available in New Zealand have very high levels of salt.

Read more here:

The results of a study co-designed by Countdown supermarkets and the DIET programme have highlighted opportunities for collaborative research to build on knowledge that could promote healthy food purchasing decisions.

To read more, click here.

High sugar intake has been associated with tooth decay in children, and increased risk of obesity and heart disease in adults.

A number of countries are implementing structural policies designed to reduce intake of foods high in sugars, including taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, warning labels on packaged foods with added sugars, and sugar reduction targets for packaged foods.

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