Amanda Johnson

Is food fortification good or bad? - Food Stuff

Oct 01, 2009

The issue of food fortification has certainly got many people hot under the collar in recent months in New Zealand! There has been a real furore over the whole idea of fortifying bread with folic acid (a harmless B vitamin), although mandatory iodine fortification is going ahead. The term fortification describes the addition of nutrients to food to levels above those normally present, the idea being to benefit population groups who may have inadequate intakes. In relation to folic acid, this is an important nutrient for women who are pregnant. The foetus rapidly develops spine and nerve cells in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and inadequate levels of folic acid at this time increase the risk of the baby developing a neural tube defect, resulting in spina bifida. Despite recommendations for women in New Zealand to take a folic … Read More

Should we pay people to lose weight? - Food Stuff

Sep 24, 2009

I was interested to read reports recently in the media proposing a smart card (an electronic subsidy system) to help those on a low income eat healthily and lose weight. It would apparently be aimed at reducing food insecurity and encouraging consumption of healthy foods in low- and middle-income families with children to reduce New Zealand’s high rate of obesity. Obesity and overweight are certainly a significant problem in New Zealand, with one adult in three overweight and a further one in four obese. Among children, body size is also an issue, with one in five children overweight and a further one in twelve obese The idea of financial incentives to reduce obesity is not new. An article in the UK newspaper The Daily Mail last year reported that Government plans to tackle obesity included the idea that … Read More