Monday , April 6 2020
Home / Tag Archives: public health

Tag Archives: public health

Ready-up

My column in the last Insights newsletter covered some of the coming Coronavirus mess. The government this week extended the COVID-19 (coronavirus) travel ban barring foreign nationals from arriving in New Zealand from mainland China and suggesting self-quarantine for Kiwis returning.The continued ban feels like the right decision for a highly contagious disease with mortality rates that appear to be around twenty times higher than the seasonal flu. But feels are a poor basis for...

Read More »

Public health and vaccination

There could well be a case for having a public agency focused comprehensively on vaccination and communicable disease.  But the proposal that the folks over at Public Health Expert isn't that. In a post framed around the recent measles outbreak and noting the risks around antimicrobial resistance and pandemics, we get this conclusion: Business as usual is not a rational or viable option for NZ. There are almost daily reminders about the large current and impending public health challenges...

Read More »

Ice Cream Makes You Happy

An excellent response to a stupid complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, a ludicrous ruling from the ASA, and a milquetoast response from the manufacturer. First, the stupid complaint about an ad outside a dairy noting "Ice Cream Makes U Happy".  I wonder if E Fowler has ever tasted ice cream. And wouldn't kids who've walked a kilometre from school to the dairy deserve an ice cream?The ASA upheld the complaint. Absolutely absurd, inside-the-asylum stuff: A majority of the...

Read More »

Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders

The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake.But it sure isn't the way I'd do it.National's suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren't keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working for Families, but that appears more controversial.We can go back to first principles and note that there's a reasonable case for government intervention to encourage vaccination - as I...

Read More »

Public health, externality, and vaccination

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I've heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There's a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement.In a place with relatively high vaccination rates, the primary benefit from your getting vaccinated goes to other...

Read More »

Skegg

A rather one-sided piece over at the ODT points me to a new short book from the Otago Public Health shop.  Let's take these in turn.The ODT piece has Bruce Munro gush over Otago public health's David Skegg and Skegg's latest book, published by Bridget Williams (of course). The basic thrust of the piece is that noble public health academics have been trying for policies that they know will reduce all the harms from alcohol, and smoking, and sugar, and that only the nefarious actions of...

Read More »

Afternoon roundup

The afternoon's worthies on the closing of a week's worth of browser tabs:Hamish Rutherford explains why, despite Keith Ng's insistence that any mildly clever move in a Google Search that gets you something that somebody didn't want you to see is indeed a hack, the inappropriate use of the term kinda matters. Keith now recommends we use the term cyberbadtouch instead of hack - I like it.  Environmental monitoring and reporting at a few of our Councils could stand improvement. Is there any...

Read More »

Health and heritability

Public health puts a lot of weight on SES in explaining disease. I don't think it's a strawman to generally characterise the field as arguing for sharp increases in redistribution to improve health outcomes.Lakhani et al used ACS and health insurance data (724,513 sibling pairs; 56,396 twin pairs) to tease out the relative contributions of heritable factors, shared environment, and socioeconomic status across a whole pile of disorders; it's in Nature: Genetics.Here's a decent write-up. They...

Read More »

Sentence first, verdict after

It isn't crazy to think that maybe information problems have people are consuming a less healthy diet than they'd otherwise eat. If people had an underlying desire to eat healthier foods, you'd expect that providing more information might change their choices.  But if provision of information didn't change their choices, that tells us something too. I'd interpret it as saying that people had basically been making the choices that were right for them all along and that information problems...

Read More »

More on that ‘new’ study on alcohol and pregnancy

I'd posted yesterday on some new work being reported by Radio New Zealand on drinking during pregnancy.I didn't know where that work had been published because it's the rare New Zealand media outlet that will ever link to a journal. So I went to the older Superu work with which I was familiar. The numbers in the reporting looked very similar to the old study, so I figured it was safe to look to the old study's numbers on the more detailed breakdowns of heavier and lighter drinking. There's a...

Read More »