89,525 results

  • Rural parents’ engagement in education in Bangladesh: problems and possibilities

    Hasnat, Mahammad Abul (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis explores the engagement practices, understandings and experiences of parents and teachers in the rural context in Bangladesh. It investigates the underlying factors that create blocks to engagement. It examines the complex interplay of expectations, blame-giving, financial constraints and pervasive social problems within the context, and how that interplay both calls for and yet inhibits engagement. The thesis also reports one head teacher’s initiatives to overcome the blocks and to create space for engagement. The study is a qualitative case study that utilises an emergent research design. This process of data collection offered me the flexibility to respond to contextual conditions and to capture rich data through group discussions and individual conversations with the teachers, parents and the community people. It allowed me to observe participants’ activities, review related documents and maintain a reflective research journal. The importance of place is highlighted throughout as my study sought to identify and report not only actual practices but the cultural, social and economic conditions that shape those practices. Place contextualises where policy decisions are to be implemented. Place is also a significant consideration in identifying the kinds of steps that might be taken to overcome barriers. Therefore, attention is given to describing the rural context of Bangladesh and its people in some detail. The study begins with examining the reasons for importance being placed on parental engagement by policy, and reports the problems in implementing policy aspirations in the rural context through the lenses of parents and teachers. It found that teachers were frustrated by lack of parental response to invitations and by their apparent disinterest in their children’s educational progress. It also found that parental illiteracy and poverty were major factors in preventing parents from becoming engaged with educational matters. Additional factors were unsatisfactory communication processes, the complex nature of the cultural relationship between parents and teachers, and the politicised nature of schools’ public programmes. I found of understandings, by both parents and teachers of the concept and possibilities of engagement were largely very limited. The thesis explores how cultural and socio-economic conditions shape dominant discourses and arbitrate access to cultural capital as well as posing practical problems. These factors impede parental engagement in education and are powerful indicators of why such engagement is needed. Next the study reports the activities of one head teacher who is taking a different approach in the same context. It details his different and innovative strategies for reaching out to parents and creating space for them to be become involved with their children’s learning and with the school. It also identifies a number of key characteristics of his leadership that allow him to make a difference and suggests that these characteristics are ones that should be looked for and fostered in appointment processes, professional development and official support. Finally the implications for policy and practice of the findings are discussed. Two models are offered: the first of the nature and possibilities of parental engagement in rural contexts of Bangladesh; the second of the processes needed to develop parental engagement in such contexts. The study is a deliberately contextual one. However, some of the contextual factors may have resonances with other contexts and other countries. Moreover the analysis of how contextual factors impact on parental engagement may also be relevant to other contexts. Therefore while the focus in on parental engagement in rural contexts in Bangladesh, it is envisaged that the study will also have wider relevance.

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  • An investigation into the use of applications on personally owned devices to enhance student engagement in large lectures

    Nesbit, Trevor Richard (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Increasing student numbers and reduced government funding have seen a trend towards there being larger numbers of students in lectures, with this having an impact on the extent of student interaction, participation, and engagement in lectures in many institutions. The impetus for this research came from a desire to retain much of the interaction, participation, and engagement that takes place in smaller classes when changing from small lectures to lectures with more than 100 students. A pilot study demonstrated that the use of applications on personally owned devices (APODs) in the form of a text messaging based system or an application running on a smart phone could create a marked increase in student interaction, participation, and engagement. This was followed by a more formal investigation using a pragmatic paradigm and a mixed methods research approach that was consistent with design-based research. This included interviews of lecturers and learning advisers, student surveys and student focus groups. The findings conclude that the use of APODs during lectures has the potential to increase student interaction. The participation and engagement through the creation of a two-way feedback channel between lecturers and students, allows for student misconceptions to be identified and addressed in a manner that can make learning more enjoyable, authentic and effective. This potential benefit can be realised by addressing the pedagogical and technological issues involved in the use of APODs in lectures. The main contributions of this research are the models that have been developed surrounding how to use APODs in a pedagogically sound manner; the importance of designing effective activities when APODs are being used; how to use APODs to cater for different groups of students; the benefits of using APODs; and how to address the challenges of using APODs. Implications for further research are also identified.

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  • An exploratory study of the practice of corporate planning and programme budgeting in the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga: evidence from a central government agency

    Ma’afu, ‘Ana T. (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    Purpose – This research explores how corporate planning and programme budgeting are practised by the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, focussing on their application by a central government agency, the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC). It addresses how corporate planning and budgeting are linked in their practice by government agencies in Tonga and why. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative approach is used to conduct an exploratory study of how OPSC practised corporate planning and programme budgeting during the 2015/2016 financial year1 (FY). An interpretivist methodology is used to analyse both primary and secondary data that were gathered using primarily a method indigenous to Pacific research known as talanoa. Literature review, participant observation, and document analysis were used to supplement data from talanoa. Findings – The practice of corporate planning and budgeting by the Government of Tonga varies from the extensive applications documented in Western literature. Those involved in their practice are concerned with some but not all aspects of the processes depending on their positions and roles. While external consultants continually express frustrations with slow progress, indigenous government officials are somewhat confident that a lot of progress has been made. The research highlights that in the continuation of the use of corporate planning and budgeting, it must respond to prevailing needs of the country. Originality/value – There seems to be a lack of consideration of specific contexts (e.g. existing regulations, systems etc.) in the introduction and development of concepts, ideas and processes foreign to small island countries. An example is the practice of accounting and management practices termed corporate planning and programme budgeting into the Government of Tonga. There has not been any research conducted on this in the context of the Kingdom of Tonga. The research compares Western ideologies with Tongan indigenous views.

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  • Predictors of Punjabi, Hindi and English reading comprehension among multilingual children in the Punjab Region of India

    Gautam, Seema (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    The research reported in this thesis investigated cognitive-linguistic predictors of reading comprehension (both within and across languages) among multilingual primary school children in the Punjab region of India. The participants of this study learn three languages: Punjabi, Hindi and English; and are exposed to all three from the initial stage of literacy acquisition. Unlike English, the Punjabi and Hindi orthographies are written nonlinearly with a horizontal bar on the top of the aksharas that connects aksharas within a word, and include vowel symbols that have independent and dependent forms. Both Punjabi and Hindi are alphasyllabic orthographies, whereas English is an alphabetic orthography. Over 400 trilingual school children in Punjab (India) from grades 2 to 5 completed a measure of text reading comprehension that comprised passages followed by questions about details in those passages. Reading comprehension levels were compared to the measures of listening comprehension, phonological processing, orthographic knowledge and speed of processing. Analyses indicated the Punjabi, Hindi and English reading comprehension levels were predicted by measure of listening comprehension and word decoding, with the latter being predicted by phonological and orthographic skills. Such findings were consistent with current models of reading derived from studies of English. However, in contrast to these models, measures of orthographic skills were also predictive of variance in reading comprehension independent of word decoding across Punjabi, Hindi and English models. Contributions of phonological processing and speed of processing were also observed in the English reading comprehension model, again independent of word decoding processes. Overall, Punjabi and Hindi reading comprehension was predicted by similar predictors, with English reading comprehension showing more variations in predictors. Further analyses investigated the influence of Punjabi and Hindi cognitive-linguistic skills on English reading levels. The findings indicated that, in the younger cohorts of students who are more likely to have less reading experience, the influence of Punjabi and Hindi measures on English was limited to word recognition. However, once these multilingual children acquire more expertise in decoding skills (i.e., in the older cohort), listening comprehension, orthographic knowledge and phonological processing in Punjabi and Hindi influenced levels in English reading comprehension. The overall findings from this thesis were used to derive three multilingual models of Punjabi, Hindi and English and one cross-linguistic model of English reading comprehension. These models suggest that a simple view of reading could be applied to Punjabi and Hindi orthographies in a similar way to English. However, additional influences of orthographic knowledge for all three languages (Punjabi, Hindi and English) in such multi-literate learners will need to be taken into account. Additionally, the influence of first and second language skills will need to be considered when developing models of third language reading comprehension. The proposed four models that includes the additional factors are discussed in light of previous research and theories/models in the field.

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  • Curiosity and self-concept of school adjustment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at Massey University

    Doyle, Michael Dennis

    Thesis
    Massey University

    This study, as a piece of descriptive research, is an extension of a similar one done by Maw and Maw (1970) concerning the relationship between curiosity and the self-concept. Whereas they hypothesised that children high in curiosity are also those who have successfully interacted with their environments, the general hypothesis for this study was that children who have positive self-concepts of themselves in the school environment will also be ones who exhibit curiosity in that situation. This hypothesis was formulated as a consequence of the writer's adherence to a theory of active intelligence, and view of self-concept as a highly task-specific construct. Measures of curiosity, global self-concept, and self-concept of school adjustment were taken. In general terms curiosity was defined as a preferred cognitive strategy which is utilized to cope with challenging stimuli and manifested in the way in which the individual is predisposed to achieve and resolve conceptual conflicts. Global self-concept was defined as an individual's perception of his innate capacity to cope effectively with his environment. Similarly self-concept of school adjustment was defined as a student's perception of his innate capacity to cope effectively in the specific environment of the classroom. Each of these three variables was operationally defined in terms of the instruments used to measure them. Where possible, the same instruments as used by Maw and Maw in their study were used in this research. No new instruments were constructed for this study. Measures of curiosity were taken from Maw and Maw: (1) Teacher's Rating Scale of Curiosity, (2) Self-appraisal of curiosity, (3) The Which to Discuss Test. Measures of global self-concept were obtained from the following instruments: (1) Parts of the California Test of Personality (C.T.P.), (2) Parts of the Children's Personality Questionnaire (C.P.Q.). A measure of self-concept of school adjustment was obtained from subjects recorded responses to factor 2 E : School Relations, of the California Test of Personality (C.T.P.) and from the tester's recorded observation on the Bristol Social Adjustment Scale: factor U (Unforthcomingess). P.A.T. results for reading comprehension and maths were taken from school records. The subjects were 20 children from the senior room of a local two-teacher school. There were ten boys and ten girls. It is felt that they are representative of New Zealand rural children. Administration and scoring of the tests was done by the writer, who at the time of testing was also the children's teacher. The results of the study did not support the general hypothesis, and only partly supported Maw and Maw's (1970) findings. However, some relationship between the variables curiosity, self-concept and self-concept of school adjustment was shown to exist. Also a highly significant relationship was recorded between curiosity and school achievement. A lack of significant relationship recorded between the teacher's rating of curiosity and the C.T.P. measure of Total Personal Adjustment was taken to suggest that either the tests in fact measure different things than curiosity and personal adjustment or, that there was error in administration or scoring of at least one of the tests. Both of these factors, as measured on the same tests, correlated significantly in the Maw and Maw study. Unfortunately the lack of correlation mentioned above also affected the recorded relationship between the teacher's rating and the school adjustment measure from the C.T.P. One implication of these results is that curiosity as a task-specific concept is merely one aspect of cognition. The possibility of marker bias was discussed, but if this can be discounted then the significant correlations which existed between curiosity, school adjustment and school performance can all be taken as evidence that curiosity is in fact connected with intelligence. Consequently, it would seem that better school adjustment is more readily found in higher achievers.

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  • Design and development of a hybrid flexible manufacturing system : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Technology at Massey University

    Jolly, Matthew J

    Thesis
    Massey University

    Volumes 1 and 2 merged.

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  • Electromagnetic propagation through non-dissipative and dissipative barriers : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Physics at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

    Shalav, Avi

    Thesis
    Massey University

    COMPUTER DISK UNREADABLE.

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  • Design and development of a competitive wire splicing system for the automotive wire harness industry : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Technology in Manufacturing and Industrial Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

    Potharaju, Venkata Subbarao

    Thesis
    Massey University

    The work presented in this thesis is aimed at developing a very comprehensive system of manufacturing wire splices for automobile wire harnesses. Ultrasonic welding is increasingly being used in various industrial applications. Lack of a scientific data-base of its properties when applied to wire splicing is a major reason for lack of proper usage by the wiring harness industry and its subsequent acceptance by the end user. This thesis presents various experiments conducted to develop tensile strengths and electrical resistances of various types of ultrasonically welded wire splices. Crimping technology was evaluated for its mechanical strengths and electrical properties by conducting various experiments to make it possible for the industry to compare it with other alternative splicing technologies. The results are then compared with ultrasonic welding. The next stage of this thesis discusses the economic feasibility of ultrasonic wire splicing. In order to find the number of ultrasonic welding machines required to meet a particular level of demand, which is a prerequisite for establishing the economic feasibility, a virtual model of the process and the manufacturing cell has been prepared and this model was used to study the dynamics of demand and the number of required machines. Simulation in manufacturing-problem-solving is being used very widely by researchers. Proper understanding and visualisation of the future of the factory and understanding and answering various questions related to the adoption of new technology, is another major reason why companies shy away from adopting ultrasonic welding systems. An advanced simulation tool namely QUEST was used to model the wire splice manufacturing cell of Alcatel and simulation studies were conducted to foresee how the production dynamics would be if ultrasonic welding machines were incorporated in place of crimping machines and various what if scenarios were developed and some vital production related questions were answered. Material handling is a major bottleneck in any wiring harness manufacturing environment. Some conceptual designs are presented on automating the task of feeding wires to ultrasonic welding machines and transferring the wire assemblies from welding stations to different work stations, currently being done manually. A wire palletising system was designed to improve the productivity. This thesis concludes that ultrasonic welding could be very effectively used for wire splicing and could be safely used in the manufacture of wiring harnesses for the automobile industry.

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  • Dental fluorosis caused by volcanic degassing in West Ambrym, Vanuatu : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Earth Science at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

    Crimp, Rachel Janice

    Thesis
    Massey University

    Fluorosis, both dental and skeletal, is a disease afflicting millions of people worldwide and is caused primarily by the ingestion of fluoride-rich drinking water. Usually, this is groundwater that has leached fluoride from underlying rock deposits. In West Ambrym. Vanuatu, however, the indigenous people live in close proximity to a degassing volcano and harvest rainwater for their potable water needs. The current project investigated two hypotheses; firstly, that dental fluorosis existed in West Ambrym and secondly, that it was caused by the ingestion of rainwater contaminated by the degassing volcanic plume. A dental survey was undertaken of children ayed 6 to 18 years using the Dean's Index of Fluorosis. A total of 835 children participated; 253 of whom came from the target area of West Ambrym. For comparative analysis and a more regional perspective, the remaining 582 surveyed were from other nearby locations. Drinking water, non-drinking water and food samples were collected for fluoride analyses. Dental fluorosis prevalence was found to be 96% in West Ambrym, 85% in Malakula, 71% in North Ambrym, 61% in Southeast Ambrym, 36% in Tongoa, 43% in an 'incidental islands' group, and 100% on Tanna. Drinking water samples from West Ambrym ranged from 0.7 to 9.5 ppm F (average 4.2 ppm F). Groundwater sources ranged from 1.8 to 2.8 ppm F (average 2.2 ppm F). Of the 158 drinking water samples, 99% were over the World Health Organisation recommended concentration of 1.0 ppm F. It was found that pH was not a suitable proxy for fluoride concentration. That painted and/or rusted corrugated iron roofing may play a role in lowering fluoride concentration of stored rainwater was a tentative finding. Coconut juice was a rich source of fluoride. Food samples ranged from <6 ppm F to over 100 ppm F. The current research has shown that the semi-continuously degassing of Ambrym volcano is introducing significant levels of fluoride into the drinking water of the local Ni-vanuatu. This geo-meteorological process has resulted in the development of widespread dental fluorosis in West Ambrym. The pathway of fluoride-enriched rainwater identified in this study has not previously been recognised in the aetiology of fluorosis. Defluoridation, or accessing an alternative water source, accompanied by modified rainwater harvesting practices, are means by which the prevalence of the disease can be markedly reduced.

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  • A process evaluation of the Supermarket Healthy Eating for Life (SHELf) randomized controlled trial

    Olstad, D; Ball, K; Abbott, G; McNaughton, S; Le, HND; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Pollard, C; Crawford, DA (2016-02-24)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Background Supermarket Healthy Eating for Life (SHELf) was a randomized controlled trial that operationalized a socioecological approach to population-level dietary behaviour change in a real-world supermarket setting. SHELf tested the impact of individual (skill-building), environmental (20 % price reductions), and combined (skill-building???+???20 % price reductions) interventions on women???s purchasing and consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-calorie carbonated beverages and water. This process evaluation investigated the reach, effectiveness, implementation, and maintenance of the SHELf interventions. Methods RE-AIM provided a conceptual framework to examine the processes underlying the impact of the interventions using data from participant surveys and objective sales data collected at baseline, post-intervention (3 months) and 6-months post-intervention. Fisher???s exact, ?? 2 and t-tests assessed differences in quantitative survey responses among groups. Adjusted linear regression examined the impact of self-reported intervention dose on food purchasing and consumption outcomes. Thematic analysis identified key themes within qualitative survey responses. Results Reach of the SHELf interventions to disadvantaged groups, and beyond study participants themselves, was moderate. Just over one-third of intervention participants indicated that the interventions were effective in changing the way they bought, cooked or consumed food (p???<???0.001 compared to control), with no differences among intervention groups. Improvements in purchasing and consumption outcomes were greatest among those who received a higher intervention dose. Most notably, participants who said they accessed price reductions on fruits and vegetables purchased (519 g/week) and consumed (0.5 servings/day) more vegetables. The majority of participants said they accessed (82 %) and appreciated discounts on fruits and vegetables, while there was limited use (40 %) and appreciation of discounts on low-calorie carbonated beverages and water. Overall reported satisfaction with, use, and impact of the skill-building resources was moderate. Maintenance of newly acquired behaviours was limited, with less than half of participants making changes or using study-provided resources during the 6-month post-intervention period. Conclusions SHELf???s reach and perceived effectiveness were moderate. The interventions were more effective among those reporting greater engagement with them (an implementation-related construct). Maintenance of newly acquired behaviours proved challenging. Trial registration Current controlled trials ISRCTN39432901.

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  • Effects of plain packaging, warning labels, and taxes on young people's predicted sugar-sweetened beverage preferences: an experimental study

    Bollard, T; Maubach, N; Greenaway, Natalie; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona (2016-09)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dental caries. Our aim was to assess the effects of plain packaging, warning labels, and a 20??% tax on predicted SSB preferences, beliefs and purchase probabilities amongst young people.A 2????????3????????2 between-group experimental study was conducted over a one-week period in August 2014. Intervention scenarios were delivered, and outcome data collected, via an anonymous online survey. Participants were 604 New Zealand young people aged 13-24 years who consumed soft drinks regularly. Participants were randomly allocated using a computer-generated algorithm to view one of 12 experimental conditions, specifically images of branded versus plain packaged SSBs, with either no warning, a text warning, or a graphic warning, and with or without a 20??% tax. Participant perceptions of the allocated SSB product and of those who might consume the product were measured using seven-point Likert scales. Purchase probabilities were measured using 11-point Juster scales.Six hundred and four young people completed the survey (51??% female, mean age 18 (SD 3.4) years). All three intervention scenarios had a significant negative effect on preferences for SSBs (plain packaging: F (6, 587)???=???54.4, p s predicted preferences for, and reported probability of purchasing, SSBs.

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  • Semantic indexing of wearable camera images: Kids???Cam concepts

    Smeaton, A; McGuinness, K; Gurrin, C; Zhou, J; O'Connor, NE; Wang, P; Davis, B; Azevedo, L; Freitas, A; Signal, L; Smith, M; Stanley, J; Barr, M; Chambers, T; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona (2016)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    In order to provide content-based search on image media, including images and video, they are typically accessed based on manual or automatically assigned concepts or tags, or sometimes based on image-image similarity depending on the use case. While great progress has been made in very recent years in automatic concept detection using machine learning, we are still left with a mis-match between the semantics of the concepts we can automatically detect, and the semantics of the words used in a user's query, for example. In this paper we report on a large collection of images from wearable cameras gathered as part of the Kids'Cam project, which have been both manually annotated from a vocabulary of 83 concepts, and automatically annotated from a vocabulary of 1,000 concepts. This collection allows us to explore issues around how language, in the form of two distinct concept vocabularies or spaces, one manually assigned and thus forming a ground-truth, is used to represent images, in our case taken using wearable cameras. It also allows us to discuss, in general terms, issues around mis-match of concepts in visual media, which derive from language mis-matches. We report the data processing we have completed on this collection and some of our initial experimentation in mapping across the two language vocabularies.

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  • Study protocol: combining experimental methods, econometrics and simulation modelling to determine price elasticities for studying food taxes and subsidies (The Price ExaM Study)

    Waterlander, Willemina; Blakely, T; Nghiem, N; Cleghorn, CL; Eyles, Helen; Genc, M; Wilson, N; Jiang, Yannan; Swinburn, Boyd; Jacobi, L; Michie, J; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona (2016-07-19)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    There is a need for accurate and precise food price elasticities (PE, change in consumer demand in response to change in price) to better inform policy on health-related food taxes and subsidies.The Price Experiment and Modelling (Price ExaM) study aims to: I) derive accurate and precise food PE values; II) quantify the impact of price changes on quantity and quality of discrete food group purchases and; III) model the potential health and disease impacts of a range of food taxes and subsidies. To achieve this, we will use a novel method that includes a randomised Virtual Supermarket experiment and econometric methods. Findings will be applied in simulation models to estimate population health impact (quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) using a multi-state life-table model. The study will consist of four sequential steps: 1. We generate 5000 price sets with random price variation for all 1412 Virtual Supermarket food and beverage products. Then we add systematic price variation for foods to simulate five taxes and subsidies: a fruit and vegetable subsidy and taxes on sugar, saturated fat, salt, and sugar-sweetened beverages. 2. Using an experimental design, 1000 adult New Zealand shoppers complete five household grocery shops in the Virtual Supermarket where they are randomly assigned to one of the 5000 price sets each time. 3. Output data (i.e., multiple observations of price configurations and purchased amounts) are used as inputs to econometric models (using Bayesian methods) to estimate accurate PE values. 4. A disease simulation model will be run with the new PE values as inputs to estimate QALYs gained and health costs saved for the five policy interventions.The Price ExaM study has the potential to enhance public health and economic disciplines by introducing internationally novel scientific methods to estimate accurate and precise food PE values. These values will be used to model the potential health and disease impacts of various food pricing policy options. Findings will inform policy on health-related food taxes and subsidies.Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12616000122459 (registered 3 February 2016).

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  • Screen Time Weight-loss Intervention Targeting Children at Home (SWITCH): process evaluation of a randomised controlled trial intervention

    Foley, L; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Marsh, Samantha; Epstein, LH; Olds, T; Dewes, Ofanaite; Heke, I; Jiang, Yannan; Maddison, R (2016-05-26)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    The Screen Time Weight-loss Intervention Targeting Children at Home (SWITCH) trial tested a family intervention to reduce screen-based sedentary behaviour in overweight children. The trial found no significant effect of the intervention on children's screen-based sedentary behaviour. To explore these null findings, we conducted a pre-planned process evaluation, focussing on intervention delivery and uptake.SWITCH was a randomised controlled trial of a 6-month family intervention to reduce screen time in overweight children aged 9-12 years (n???=???251). Community workers met with each child's primary caregiver to deliver the intervention content. Community workers underwent standard training and were monitored once by a member of the research team to assess intervention delivery. The primary caregiver implemented the intervention with their child, and self-reported intervention use at 3 and 6??months. An exploratory analysis determined whether child outcomes at 6??months varied by primary caregiver use of the intervention.Monitoring indicated that community workers delivered all core intervention components to primary caregivers. However, two thirds of primary caregivers reported using any intervention component "sometimes" or less frequently at both time points, suggesting that intervention uptake was poor. Additionally, analyses indicated no effect of primary caregiver intervention use on child outcomes at 6??months, suggesting the intervention itself lacked efficacy.Poor uptake, and the efficacy of the intervention itself, may have played a role in the null findings of the SWITCH trial on health behaviour and body composition.The trial was registered in the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (no. ACTRN12611000164998 ); registration date: 10/02/2011.

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  • Protecting New Zealand children from exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks: a comparison of three nutrient profiling systems to classify foods

    Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Mackenzie, T; Vandevijvere, Stefanie (2016-09-09)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks is a significant, modifiable risk factor for child obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. We compared three accepted nutrient profiling systems: the Health Star Rating (HSR), the Ministry of Health Food and Beverage Classification System (FBCS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe Nutrient Profiling Model, to identify the best system to protect New Zealand children from exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages.13,066 packaged foods from the 2014 New Zealand Nutritrack database were classified as 'restricted' or 'not restricted' as per the WHO model; 'everyday/sometimes' or 'occasional' as per the FBCS model; and 's exposure to marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks should be subject to evaluation by an independent body.

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  • Modeling health gains and cost savings for ten dietary salt reduction targets

    Wilson, N; Nghiem, N; Eyles, Helen; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Shields, E; Cobiac, LJ; Cleghorn, CL; Blakely, T (2016-04-26)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Dietary salt reduction is included in the top five priority actions for non-communicable disease control internationally. We therefore aimed to identify health gain and cost impacts of achieving a national target for sodium reduction, along with component targets in different food groups.We used an established dietary sodium intervention model to study 10 interventions to achieve sodium reduction targets. The 2011 New Zealand (NZ) adult population (2.3 million aged 35+ years) was simulated over the remainder of their lifetime in a Markov model with a 3 % discount rate.Achieving an overall 35 % reduction in dietary salt intake via implementation of mandatory maximum levels of sodium in packaged foods along with reduced sodium from fast foods/restaurant food and discretionary intake (the "full target"), was estimated to gain 235,000 QALYs over the lifetime of the cohort (95 % uncertainty interval [UI]: 176,000 to 298,000). For specific target components the range was from 122,000 QALYs gained (for the packaged foods target) down to the snack foods target (6100 QALYs; and representing a 34-48 % sodium reduction in such products). All ten target interventions studied were cost-saving, with the greatest costs saved for the mandatory "full target" at NZ$1260 million (US$820 million). There were relatively greater health gains per adult for men and for M??ori (indigenous population).This work provides modeling-level evidence that achieving dietary sodium reduction targets (including specific food category targets) could generate large health gains and cost savings for a national health sector. Demographic groups with the highest cardiovascular disease rates stand to gain most, assisting in reducing health inequalities between sex and ethnic groups.

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  • "Smart" RCTs: Development of a Smartphone App for Fully Automated Nutrition-Labeling Intervention Trials

    Volkova, Ekaterina; Li, N; Dunford, E; Eyles, Helen; Crino, M; Michie, J; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona (2016-01)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    There is substantial interest in the effects of nutrition labels on consumer food-purchasing behavior. However, conducting randomized controlled trials on the impact of nutrition labels in the real world presents a significant challenge.The Food Label Trial (FLT) smartphone app was developed to enable conducting fully automated trials, delivering intervention remotely, and collecting individual-level data on food purchases for two nutrition-labeling randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in New Zealand and Australia.Two versions of the smartphone app were developed: one for a 5-arm trial (Australian) and the other for a 3-arm trial (New Zealand). The RCT protocols guided requirements for app functionality, that is, obtaining informed consent, two-stage eligibility check, questionnaire administration, randomization, intervention delivery, and outcome assessment. Intervention delivery (nutrition labels) and outcome data collection (individual shopping data) used the smartphone camera technology, where a barcode scanner was used to identify a packaged food and link it with its corresponding match in a food composition database. Scanned products were either recorded in an electronic list (data collection mode) or allocated a nutrition label on screen if matched successfully with an existing product in the database (intervention delivery mode). All recorded data were transmitted to the RCT database hosted on a server.In total approximately 4000 users have downloaded the FLT app to date; 606 (Australia) and 1470 (New Zealand) users met the eligibility criteria and were randomized. Individual shopping data collected by participants currently comprise more than 96,000 (Australia) and 229,000 (New Zealand) packaged food and beverage products.The FLT app is one of the first smartphone apps to enable conducting fully automated RCTs. Preliminary app usage statistics demonstrate large potential of such technology, both for intervention delivery and data collection.Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000964617. New Zealand trial: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000644662.

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  • Economic evaluation of price discounts and skill-building strategies on purchase and consumption of healthy foods and beverages: the SHELf randomized controlled trial

    Le, HND; Gold, L; Abbott, G; Crawford, D; McNaughton, SA; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Pollard, C; Ball, K (2016-06)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Objective Pricing strategies are a promising approach for promoting healthier dietary choices. However, robust evidence of the cost-effectiveness of pricing manipulations on dietary behaviour is limited. We aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of a 20% price reduction on fruits and vegetables and a combined skills-based behaviour change and price reduction intervention. Design and methods Cost-effectiveness analysis from a societal perspective was undertaken for the randomized controlled trial Supermarket Healthy Eating for Life (SHELf). Female shoppers in Melbourne, Australia were randomized to: (1) skill-building (n = 160); (2) price reductions (n = 161); (3) combined skill-building and price reduction (n = 161); or (4) control group (n = 161). The intervention was implemented for three months followed by a six month follow-up. Costs were measured in 2012 Australian dollars. Fruit and vegetable purchasing and consumption were measured in grams/week. Results At three months, compared to control participants, price reduction participants increased vegetable purchases by 233 g/week (95% CI 4 to 462, p = 0.046) and fruit purchases by 364 g/week (95% CI 95 to 633, p = 0.008). Participants in the combined group purchased 280 g/week more fruits (95% CI 27 to 533, p = 0.03) than participants in the control group. Increases were not maintained six-month post intervention. No effect was noticed in the skill-building group. Compared to the control group, the price reduction intervention cost an additional A$2.3 per increased serving of vegetables purchased per week or an additional A$3 per increased serving of fruit purchased per week. The combined intervention cost an additional A$12 per increased serving of fruit purchased per week compared to the control group. Conclusions A 20% discount on fruits and vegetables was effective in promoting overall fruit and vegetable purchases during the period the discount was active and may be cost-effective. The price discount program gave better value for money than the combined price reduction and skill-building intervention. The SHELf trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials Registration ISRCTN39432901.

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  • A spatio-temporal approach for exploring human-wildlife conflict using the kea (Nestor notabilis) as a case study

    Kennedy, Erin (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Globally, human-wildlife conflict is one of the main threats to the continued persistence of numerous species. In my thesis, I developed a spatio-temporal framework with the aim that it inform management of conflict-prone animal species such as the kea (Nestor notabilis). My specific research aims were to: 1.) characterise the movement and behavioural patterns of kea; 2.) quantify the nature and extent of kea interactions with anthropogenic infrastructure in their environment; 3.) explore how human activity may be affecting kea behavioural patterns; and 4.) assess the impact of human-wildlife conflict on kea population dynamics relative to other important threats. Applying a spatial framework to explore human-wildlife conflict requires the collection of spatio-temporal data to describe movement patterns and their relation to human features in the landscape. First, I assessed the use of animal-borne GPS telemetry as a means of collecting movement data from kea. I observed: no apparent adverse effect of the loggers on the condition of the kea; no damage to the devices that impaired their function; and that the operational performance provided high-resolution data sufficient characterising the movement patterns of wild kea. The high proportion of GPS fixes recorded in human areas and strength of habitat preference revealed that the kea in my study were attracted to human areas. Using a switching Monte-Carlo Markov-Chain model I was able to assign behavioural states to the GPS fixes, revealing that kea spent significantly more time on ground-based behaviours than flight. Kea demonstrated strong temporal variation in proximity to humans areas, and generally were in/or close to human areas at times of the day when human activity was highest. My results showed that individual kea clearly differ substantially in their movement patterns; most probably because of differences in age or reproductive status. Temporal variation in patterns of behaviour indicated that, for some individuals, durations of area-restricted behaviour varied as a function of proximity to human areas. The outcomes of a stochastic stage-based model used in a population viability analysis indicate that the biggest threat to kea populations is predation by introduced mammals, but as human populations continue to grow in kea habitats humaninduced mortality could become a major threat in the future. My results suggest the spatial approach adopted here is an effective means of describing fundamental aspects of humanwildlife interactions and potential conflict. As technology and the associated analytical toolkit continue to improve, I believe the use of spatio-temporal approach will prove to be a vital tool for exploring and mitigating human-wildlife conflict in a range of species.

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  • St David's Day Concert with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales

    Evans, Tecwyn

    Creative work
    The University of Auckland Library

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