The Healthy Country?
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Did Maori or Europeans live longer when Captain James Cook arrived in New Zealand in 1769? Why were Pakeha New Zealanders the healthiest, longest-lived people on the face of the globe for 80 years—and why did Maori not enjoy the same life expectancy? Why were New Zealanders’ health and longevity surpassed by other nations in the late 20th century? Through lively text and quantitative analysis presented in accessible graphics, the authors answer these questions by analyzing the impact of nutrition and disease, immigration and unemployment, alcohol and obesity, and medicine and vaccination. The result is a powerful argument about why people live and why people die in New Zealand—and what might be done about it. The Healthy Country? is important reading for anyone interested in the story of New Zealanders and a decisive contribution to current international debates about health, disease, and medicine.
Alistair Woodward has been head of the School of Population Health since 2004. He is a former professor of public health at the University of Otago Wellington. He has worked for the World Health Organization throughout the Pacific, and was on the writing team of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is an editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Tony Blakely is an epidemiologist at the University of Otago. He directs the Health Inequalities Research Programme that includes the health component of a panel study of 20,000 adults followed up for eight years and a series of neighborhoods and health research projects. He also directs the HRC-funded Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost Effectiveness Programme, which reviews the health impact and cost effectiveness of a range of preventative and cancer control interventions. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles.
“We know much about how personal behaviours, choices and genes influence individual health. This enterprising, well-written, and timely book asks a bigger question: What cultural, political, commercial and socioeconomic influences explain the trends over several centuries in New Zealand’s population health and life expectancy? The authors’ exploration of major differences in health trends between Maori and Europeans (Pakeha) provides further valuable insights—and just when the need for sustainable and healthier ways of living is pressing on us all.” —Professor Emeritus Tony McMichael, Australian National University