Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Maternal, infant and toddler dietary guidelines: Identifying and researching key statements from stakeholder consultation

Supervisor

Dr. Sally Mackay, Dr. Sarah Gerritsen

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Project code: MHS015

The stakeholder consultation is a key part of a wider review and update of the New Zealand maternal, infants and toddler dietary guidelines. Health professionals such as midwives, nurses and dietitians will be invited to complete an online survey. We require a student to follow-up non-responders and analyse the results. Key statements for the guidelines requiring further investigation will be identified and international evidence collected. This project would suit a nutrition or public health student with an interest in maternal, infant and toddler nutrition.

SKILLS: 

  • Analysing survey data
  • Literature review
  • Translating evidence into practical information
  • Written and verbal communication skills

Air Pollution Exposure of Users of Underground Pedestrian Walkways

Supervisor

Kim Dirks, Simon Thornley

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Project code: MHS019

Underground pedestrian walkways (UPWs) form an important component of the transport infrastructure around Auckland and in many cities worldwide, allowing people to bypass busy intersections and improving traffic flow for both pedestrians and road traffic and making walking a safer mode of travel. Some UPWs are used extensively by school children as part of their journey to school. At the present time, while smoking is not permitted on train platforms and some other public spaces, it is still permitted in UPWs. Given the limited air flow inside such spaces, it can be expected that cigarette smoke emitted within the walkway will linger for some time, resulting in elevated exposures for those who pass though after the smoker. Little is known about the habits of smokers with respect to UPWs, the impact of smoking on in-tunnel concentrations or the extent of the health risk posed by such behavior to other users of the UPWs and children in particular.

The aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which smoking in UPWs impacts on air quality inside UPWs relative to what would be experienced in the absence of a UPW. The results will be useful for quantifying the health benefits that would be achieved by the introduction of a ban on smoking in UPWs.

SKILL: The project will involve the identification of suitable UPWs for observation, the collection of air pollution data in and around UPWs at school travel times using portable air quality monitoring equipment, and straight-forward quantitative statistical analysis and interpretation of the data.