Public Health Reports Archive: Evidence-based public health action

Reports and submissions prepared by public health analysts are often completed in partnership with other staff or organisations.

Find out more about the public health analysts at Community and Public Health or to view more recent reports.

The Community and Public Health analysts hope the reports and information you access is helpful to you or your organisation.

For more information on the work of the Public Health Analysts or to provide feedback, contact:

Colleen Moore
Ph: +64 3 378 6777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125


2014 Reports

Evaluation of the Canterbury under-18 seasonal influenza vaccination programme

Date of Publication: July 2014 in the New Zealand Medical Journal

This report looks at the effectiveness of the Canterbury DHB providing a free influenza vaccine for all children up to the age of 18 living within the area, in response to post-disaster social disruption following the February 2011 earthquakes.

The programme was a strategy explored by the Canterbury DHB to reduce admissions to its hospitals in Christchurch that were extensively damaged by the earthquakes and had significantly reduced capacity as a result.

Evaluation of the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op: Final report of survey results [1.96Mb PDF]

Date of Publication: July 2014

This survey aimed to evaluate the impact of the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op on members, and to provide information to guide Community and Public Health’s future involvement with the Christchurch Fruit and Vegetable Co-op.

The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is a health promotion partnership between Community and Public Health, the Christchurch Anglican Cathedral, and the communities of Christchurch. The aim of the project is to increase the quantity and variety of fruit and vegetables consumed among participating families by providing low cost fresh fruit and vegetables.

Public Health Implications of Land Use Change and Agricultural Intensification with respect to the Canterbury Plains: A Literature Review [2.37Mb PDF]

Date of Publication: July 2014

Land use change has been occurring rapidly in recent years, both at a global scale and within Canterbury. While there is potential for this change to create wealth – there is also potential for unintended effects which may impair the health of communities.

This review is intended to provide information to help anticipate and avoid negative consequences of land use change. This literature review updates the original version completed in 2010.

Existing on-site wastewater treatment systems assessment in Darfield: Sanitary survey summary report [2.56Mb PDF]

Date of Publication: April 2014

The population of Selwyn District has increased dramatically over the past several years. This district includes communities (such as Darfield) that do not have a reticulated system for wastewater disposal and treatment.

There is a risk to public health if septic plumes from on-site wastewater treatment systems intersect with the groundwater, or if surface ponding of wastewater occurs. Since 2007 Community and Public Health (C&PH) has been raising the concern over wastewater reticulation as community size and/or density increases.

The purpose of this survey was to provide information about the immediate health risks to residents and users by investigating the number of residents having direct contact with effluent via septic tank failure.

School breakfast programmes for adolescents: Literature review [972Kb PDF]

Date of Publication: April 2014

Regular breakfast consumption by adolescents is related to greater nutrient intake and health-promoting behaviours; improved academic performance, cognitive function, and cardiometabolic measures; and healthy weight maintenance.

This literature review investigated the outcomes of free school breakfast provision to adolescents and the features of the most effective programmes.

2013 Reports

Child and Youth Health Promotion: Update of the evidence since 2006 [957Kb PDF]

Date of Publication: December 2013

This report is provided as an update of the evidence contained in the Child and Youth Health Promotion Interventions and Effectiveness reference document for South Canterbury by Dr Annabel Begg that was written in 2006.

The original report was set out into sections dealing with issues, settings, and populations. This update document covers detailed evidence on seven issues or topic areas: tobacco control, nutrition and physical activity, injury prevention, mental health, alcohol, sexual health, oral health, and alcohol and other drugs.

Interventions to prevent childhood obesity: Literature review [842Kb PDF]

Date of Publication: November 2013

This document presents the findings of a literature review focused on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent obesity in children up to 12 years of age. The evidence in this paper will inform Community and Public Health and the Child and Youth Workstream of the Canterbury Clinical Network.

Improving access to primary health care for children and youth: a review of the literature for the Canterbury Clinical Network Child and Youth Workstream [598Kb PDF]

Date of Publication: October 2013

This literature review was requested by the Canterbury Clinical Network Child and Youth Workstream in order to develop a fuller understanding of the issues around access as a barrier to child and youth health care and the best way of addressing access for vulnerable populations in the Canterbury area.

School-based programmes to prevent suicide and build resilience among students: A literature review and stocktake for South Canterbury District Health Board [1.52Mb PDF]

Date of Publication: August 2013
Revised October 2013

Suicide is a significant cause of death among young people in New Zealand, ranking as second to only traffic fatalities as the leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years. As a place where many young people spend a considerable proportion of their time, schools are logical and natural settings for youth suicide prevention efforts.

South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) is considering investing in school-based suicide prevention programmes. The report reviews the evidence base for a variety of programmes, including those with the specific and explicit aim of preventing suicide and those with the more general aim of promoting resilience and emotional wellbeing. This included school-based efforts that may already be in use at both a local and a national level.

Health impact and the public health response to major job losses in small communities: An overview of the international and New Zealand literature [335Kb PDF]

Date of Publication: May 2013

This report looks at how the closure of Solid Energy’s Spring Creek mine near Greymouth would impact on the health and wellbeing of the small community of the West Coast. The review starts with the general impact of unemployment on the health and wellbeing of individuals and looks at documented efforts to address the adverse effects.

The later part of the review focuses on communities including a brief overview of the international evidence on the health impact of workplace closures, with some international examples of community responses and detailed NZ case studies with communities that experienced mass layoffs and how they responded. The concluding comments suggest what might be learnt from the literature for the West Coast situation.

An Outbreak of Waterbourne Gastroenteritis in Darfield, Canterbury July-August 2012 [282kB PDF]

Date of Publication: February 2013

This report documents Community and Public Health’s response to a gastroenteritis outbreak in Darfield in 2012. It was produced for the Darfield community affected by this outbreak, and includes an update on measures taken since to prevent future incidents.

2012 Reports

Review of studies that quantified the economic benefits of interventions to increase walking and cycling for transport [267kB PDF]

Date of Publication: October 2010 (as “Quantifying the economic benefit of increasing physical activity”)
Revised December 2012

Inactivity has significant costs to the health system. For example, an Australian report estimated the direct gross cost of physical inactivity to the Australian health budget in 2006/2007 was $1.49 billion. Cost benefit analyses of existing interventions in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along with social campaigns to encourage people to use them have shown that the benefits far outweigh the costs and are a “best buy” for personal health, the health system, and the transport sector. Aside from reduced all-cause mortality, and health care costs, there are measurable benefits in decreased morbidity, pollution, absenteeism, and traffic congestion.

Evaluation of the Rockers of Ages Choirs [184kB PDF]

Date of Publication: July 2012

The Rockers of Ages Elders’ Choirs is an initiative of the MUSE Community Music Trust, a charitable trust based in Christchurch. The Trust is run mostly by volunteers with contracted (paid) tutors and some contracted support staff.

The Rockers of Ages initiative aimed to provide an enjoyable activity in a non-threatening supportive environment that would lift people’s spirits and give them something positive to focus on in the aftermath of the 22nd February 2011 earthquake. Four choirs were set up, each in an area that had suffered significant earthquake damage: Kaiapoi, St Albans, Aranui, and Sumner.

Housing, home heating and air quality: a public health perspective [601kB PDF]

Date of Publication: April 2012 (Corrected July 2012)

The housing environment is a key setting with impacts on human health. Housing factors which contribute significantly to health outcomes include temperature, humidity and ventilation, overcrowding, affordability and fuel poverty.

The information about housing, home heating and air quality is presented in the context of what is currently known post-earthquakes. The central concern is the potential for any of the issues considered to impact upon the most vulnerable of our citizens and on the health system itself, particularly over the upcoming winter period.

Supporting volunteers with experience of mental illness: A literature review [121kB PDF]

Date of Publication: April 2012

All organisations would like to provide a healthy work environment and get the most out of their volunteers or employees. However, for many volunteer coordinators, mental health issues among volunteer staff are a worrying unknown. This review summarises the literature around managing people with experience of mental illness. The information is not intended as a guide for voluntary organisations, rather it is as summary of the available literature so that volunteer coordinators may decide for themselves how to approach mental health issues.

South Island Public Health Project: Report of process and outcome evaluations 2010-2012 [592kB PDF]

Date of Publication: March 2012

The South Island Project is a collaboration of the three South Island Public Health Units (PHUs) and aims to facilitate the three PHUs working together – collaborating on leadership and sharing planning, resources and strategic work. The project was evaluated on progress towards its aim, and effectiveness in specific areas including workforce development, knowledge management, action networks and the Project Management Group.

2011 Reports

Core Public Health Functions for New Zealand [219kB PDF]

Date of Publication: September 2011

This report from the national Public Health Clinical Network describes the public health principles and the core public health functions. These are combined in various ways by a range of providers to produce the public health services essential for a highly-functioning New Zealand health system. It then outlines the implications of this core functions model for public health service delivery.

Community and Public Health is part of the national Public Health Clinical Network, and lead the development of this report.

Long Term Planning for Recovery After Disasters: ensuring health in all policies [326kB PDF]

Date of Publication: June 2011

This document from CPH staff aims to show what can be learned from previous disasters about the impact of decisions and actions taken and how these have affected people’s wellbeing during the recovery period. The document is written from a public health perspective but draws on the literature of many disciplines.

The document has also be broken down into a series of information sheets on the diverse issues/areas of action.

Integrated Recovery Planning Guide V2 [2MB PDF]

Date of Publication: June 2011

In light of the 22 February 2011 6.3 magnitude quake, the document created in response to the September 4th Quake has been updated.

Send an email to irgfeedback@cdhb.govt.nz for hard copies of the guide.

Effective Nutritional and Wellness Interventions for Men [165kB PDF]

Date of Publication: May 2011

There is growing desire to have a men’s focused nutrition and wellness programme similar to Appetite for Life which has been effective for women in Canterbury. Over the past decade, men’s health has increasingly become a public health concern. It is widely acknowledged that men have lower life expectancy than women. Some of the common causes of male deaths are from conditions which are largely preventable (e.g.cancers, heart disease). This literature review documents and evaluates existing nutrition and wellness health promotion programmes for men.

Public Health Response to the February 22 Christchurch Earthquake: Progress Report [4.53MB PDF]

Date of Publication: March 2011

This report documents Community and Public Health’s response to the devastating February 22nd earthquake in Christchurch. It comprehensively details the different tasks and roles undertaken in first six weeks of the aftermath.

2010 Reports

Quantifying the economic benefit of increasing physical activity [106kB PDF]

Date of Publication: October 2010

Inactivity has significant costs to the health system. For example, an Australian report estimated the direct gross cost of physical inactivity to the Australian health budget in 2006/2007 was $1.49 billion. Cost benefit analyses of existing interventions in pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along with social campaigns to encourage people to use them have shown that the benefits far outweigh the costs and are a “best buy” for personal health, the health system, and the transport sector. Aside from reduced all-cause mortality, and health care costs, there are measurable benefits in decreased morbidity, pollution, absenteeism, and traffic congestion.

Economic and social impact of patient versus clinician travel: An overview of the literature [183kB PDF]

Date of Publication: October 2010

Specialist services have become increasingly centralised over recent decades in response to evidence of better outcomes for patients treated in hospitals that have high volumes of complex procedures. Although this may be positive overall, there is evidence that centralisation may reduce access to care for people who live far from main centres, and that social and ethnic disparities may be exacerbated.
Patients who live far away from specialised services experience time, financial, and personal barriers to care. They often need an accompanying person, who also experiences the same disadvantages. Impacts include direct costs for transport, accommodation and food, cost of time away from work for patients and accompanying other(s), and child care costs. Other, less measureable barriers include lost productivity, finding substitutes for home or business activities, unfamiliarity with the larger centre, isolation from wider family support, and poor coordination that results in unnecessary travel.

Hauora Waitaha I: Health Profile for Maori in Canterbury

Date of Publication: April 2010

This profile prepared for the Canterbury District Health Board provides the first comprehensive picture of the health of Māori in Canterbury. It is hoped that it will be useful for Māori and those working to improve health for Māori in Canterbury. The profile draws on data from a range of sources. These data are presented in such a way as to allow comparison of the health of Māori and non-Māori in Canterbury, and the health of Māori in Canterbury and at the national level.

Hauora Waitaha Summary [302kB PDF]
Hauora Waitaha Full Report [1.4MB PDF].

2009 Reports

Food Security: A review and synthesis of themes from the literature [218kB PDF]

Date of Publication: August 2009

It is estimated that around 10% of New Zealand households experience low food security. Māori and Pacific Island groups are more affected than other New Zealanders. Economic factors have the greatest influence on food insecurity, particularly the cost of accommodation in relation to total household income. The effects of food insecurity on health status and social wellbeing are well documented. It is especially damaging for child health and development, and is associated with an increased the risk of overweight and obesity.

Investing in Public Health [89kB PDF]

Date of Publication: 2009

This briefing paper explains why investing in public health is a sensible economic strategy, and how investment in public health makes an important contribution to improving the health of individuals and of our population. The paper shows that for resource allocation to be ethical and effective, public health interventions need to assessed using equivalent criteria for effectiveness and cost-effectiveness as health care interventions when health funding is allocated.

2008 Reports

Economic Benefits of a City Health Plan [142kB PDF]

Date of Publication: December 2008

This paper provides information to support the development of a City Health Plan for Christchurch.  Health is highly valued by most people. In the Millennium Survey of 50,000 adults in 60 countries, good health was selected as the thing that matters most in life.  Locally, health was also given high priority by the people of Christchurch and Canterbury in the community outcomes consultation for the Christchurch City and Canterbury regional councils.
Health care services are an important contributor to health, but many of the most important contributors to health such as lifestyle, social and community networks, living and working conditions, food supplies, and socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions, lie beyond the health sector.

Efficacy of boil water notices on consumers [77kB PDF]

Date of Publication: September 2008

When water sampling fails to meet standards a boil water notice is issued instructing consumers to boil water for domestic use until the contamination has been dealt with, and the notice has been lifted. Notices are intended to be a precautionary measure but as some have become permanent, they are apparently being used as a substitute for treatment of contaminated water. When boil water notices are in place, consumers cannot rely on the safety of their drinking water. These notices may be missed by residents who do not receive a newspaper, listen to the radio or who are tenants of a property where the landlord may have received notification but they have not.

The West Coast – Te Tai O Poutini Māori Health Profile [PDF]

Date of Publication: August 2008

This document is designed to inform the subsequent stages of a health needs accessment for Māori in the West Coast DHB. Data have been accessed from a variety of sources, and Māori and Non-Māori/Other ethnicities data are presented on a range of indicators. Age-standardised and age-specific rates are presented where possible.

2007 Reports

What We Know About How Urban Design Affects Children and Young People: The Interaction Between Health Outcomes and the Built Environment [272kB PDF]

Date of Publication: August 2007

Imagine a city in which children are valued and precious – where politicians, children, parents, planners and business people recognise the need to actively and deliberately move towards creating such a city. It would be safe. Children’s opinions and perceptions would be given validity by decision-makers. Children would enjoy a clean green attractive environment.
Recreation, health and educational facilities would be easily accessible to all, regardless of where they lived or what their parents earned. They would be positive about learning and employment opportunities and be confident happy citizens. Children would be proud and enthusiastic about their new families, communities and city. They would belong. This is the kind of vision meant by a child friendly city.

Greater Christchurch Draft Urban Development Strategy 2005 [68kB PDF]

Date of Publication: 2007 (in the NSW Public Health Bulletin)

The first health impact assessment (HIA) performed on a high level local government policy in New Zealand was undertaken on the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy in 2005.

This report describes its development and implementation and the results from the process evaluation including some recommendations made in the assessment. We concluded that HIA is a useful tool for local government policy analysts and we recommend it.

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