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91466: Investigate a nutritional issue affecting the well-being of New Zealand society

Updated December 2022. A paragraph has been added to clarify the requirements for choosing an appropriate nutritional issue.

An investigation

An investigation should include an explanation of the nature of the issue, trends or patterns and their causes, and the effects on the well-being of New Zealand society.

The nature of the nutritional issue should be explained, i.e. what the very essence of the issue is; why it is an issue; how we know it is an issue; and which group in society is most affected.

The focus of the nutritional issue selected for investigation should not be a disease such as obesity. Obesity is a complex medical issue with many underlying causes, and needs to be viewed as the outcome of a nutritional issue, not the issue itself. For this reason it is not a suitable focus for investigation. A list of suitable nutritional issues is provided in Explanatory Note 4 of the standard.  

Trends or patterns should be explained and supported by both qualitative and quantitative information, for example, development over time; gender/age differences; regional differences; connections to significant events. Some information/evidence should be less than five years old, except where data is being used to support a historical trend.

Qualitative information is a collection of words that provides in-depth understanding and meaning - people’s ideas, explanations, stories, etc. It is about what people say and the meaning of their ideas, for example, interview reports, newspaper articles. Quantitative information is based on numbers that provide information for statistical analysis – how many, how big, how widespread (quantity), for example, the Ministry of Health statistics.

The causes or significant contributing factors of the issue should be explained, i.e. the determinants of health, attitudes, values and key stakeholders.

The effects on well-being should be focused mainly at a societal level and be supported by evidence. 

In-depth investigation                                                      

For Merit, an in-depth investigation should include an analysis of the interconnections between the issue and the contributing factors.

Perceptive investigation

For Excellence, a perceptive investigation should include a critical analysis of attitudes and values, i.e. what people know, value, can do or have control of from both an individual and societal perspective – how do their attitudes and values contribute to the problem or are affected by the issue.

A critical analysis should also include the implications of the issue for the well-being of New Zealand society and for equitable outcomes. Insight should be shown into the effect on all groups – what effects there are for people directly affected and also those not currently affected by the issue (indirect flow-on health implications in the longer term).

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