Nutrition Research

Unhealthy diet is the leading preventable risk factor for poor health. We undertake research on policy and practice-relevant interventions to inform national and international efforts on effective and cost-effective ways to improve population diets and prevent obesity.

Our current research highlights

DIET Programme

DIET is a five-year programme of nutrition intervention research. Funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, it includes five projects examining approaches to improving food environments and population diets:



Key themes of the programme are:

  • Scalable, population-level interventions
  • Focus on Māori and Pacific peoples
  • Ease of translation to policy action
  • Use of innovative intervention and measurement technologies.


The programme team includes:


  • Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Dr Helen Eyles, Dr Wilma Waterlander, Dr Yannan Jiang and Rachel Carter, NIHI, University of Auckland
  • Professor Tony Blakely and Associate Professor Louise Signal, Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington
  • Professor Bruce Neal, The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney
  • Professor Mike Rayner, British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, University of Oxford 

For more information please visit the DIET website

OL@-OR@ (WellTEXT)

OL@-OR@ (WellTEXT) is a four-year project to design and evaluate a mobile-phone delivered (mHealth) healthy lifestyle support programme for Māori and Pasifika in New Zealand.

The research is a partnership where Māori and Pacific leaders and communities are co-designing the mHealth programme with the research team.


Funded by the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, the projects main aim is to reduce risk factors for obesity, diabetes, heart disease or cancer.


The project team includes:

  • Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, Associate Professor Robyn Whittaker, Associate Professor Andrew Jull, and Jacqui Grey, NIHI, University of Auckland
  • Dr Ridvan Firestone, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington
  • Dr Lisa Te Morenga, Department of Human Nurition, University of Otago, Dunedin
  • Maori Community Leads - Toi Tangata, Te Ha Oranga, Ngati Whatua and Waiwhetu
  • Pasifika Community Leads – The Fono Trust and South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services Trust
  • Rangimarie Mules - Co-design Advisor/ Facilitator
  • Debbie Goodwin - PhD Student
For more information please visit the OL@-OR@ website –