The Surveillance and Non-Communicable Diseases Group undertakes epidemiological research
in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, children's nutrition, obesity,
alcohol and road traffic injury.
The group comprises Associate Professor Robert Scragg, Dr Patricia Metcalf, Professor
Rod Jackson, Dr Roger Marshall, Dr Shanthi Ameratunga, Dr Jennie Connor, David Schaaf,
Karen Moy and Mark Lyne.
In 2003, the group completed work on two major epidemiological studies.
- Our staff contributed to the report of the national children's nutrition survey,
which was released in November by the Minister of Health. This report contains the
main descriptive findings from the survey of over 3,000 New Zealand children aged
5-14 years, which was funded by the MoH for $4 million. The project was a collaboration
between our staff, the Life in NZ Unit, University of Otago, and School of Maori
Studies, Massey University.
- The other major project was completion of interviews with over 4,000 people in the
Diabetes, Heart and Health Survey (funded by the HRC for $1.5 million).
include: a validation study of the physical activity questionnaires used for physical
activity surveillance by Sport & Recreation NZ and the MoH, which was
completed during 2002, and development of a tobacco behaviours questionnaire (in
collaboration with ASH and the Survey Research Unit), which will be used by the
MoH to monitor tobacco smoking among the NZ population.
During 2003, the group was successful in gaining two of the prestigious grants (out
of 11 total) awarded to Australian and New Zealand research groups by an initiative
from the UK Wellcome Trust, in collaboration with the Australian NH&MRC and
the New Zealand HRC, to support the development of health research in Asian and
Pacific Island countries.
Nutrition researchers in our group were awarded $2.86 million to carry out a 5-year
community-based obesity prevention project, in collaboration with researchers from
Deakin University and the Fiji School of Medicine.
Injury researchers in our group were awarded $0.95 million to carry out a
three-year project to identify the risk factors for road traffic crashes in Fiji, in
collaboration with researchers from the Fiji School of Medicine.
Both projects started in 2004. The NZ component of both these projects has been used to
help develop a Pacific Health research centre, located at Tamaki in the new School of
Population Health. Both projects offer excellent opportunities for Pacific graduate
students, supervised by staff in this group, to get first hand experience of doing
research in complex large-scale epidemiological studies.