Dr Sarah Clare Gerritsen
BA, MA (Applied) VUW., PhD UoA.
Sarah is a social scientist working in the field of public health nutrition and child health. She produces policy-relevant research that helps to understand what improves the health and wellbeing of New Zealand children.
Sarah is the Associate Director of New Zealand’s contemporary longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand following over 6,000 children from before their birth in 2009/10. She also undertakes research on a variety of public health nutrition topics, such as food environments, healthy food policies and food security. Her PhD was on the potential for early childhood education services to assist with obesity prevention. Sarah previously worked at the Ministry of Health as a senior advisor in population health research, and was the research manager for a cross-party think tank at the Royal Society of Arts in London, The Commission on 2020 Public Services.
Research | Current
Associate Director - Growing Up in New Zealand, funded by the Ministry of Social Development www.growingup.co.nz
Principal Investigator - Covid Kai Survey: How has the COVID-19 lockdown changed the way New Zealanders food shop, cook and eat? https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/news/2020/11/18/covid-lockdowns-the-toll-on-our-diets.html
Co-investigator - National Healthy Food and Drink Policy Evaluation (HYPE study) funded by the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge https://www.nihi.auckland.ac.nz/nutrition
Principal Investigator - The effect of household food-related hardship on preschool nutrition and health, funded by the Ministry of Social Development's Children and Families Research Fund:
Co-investigator - INFORMAS Food-Epi Government Policy Evaluation, Covid-related marketing of unhealthy food and drinks.
Contracted researcher - Effectiveness of policies and programmes promoting fruits and vegetables, review and background paper for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization in preparation for the 2021 United Nations Year of Fruits and Vegetables
Contracted researcher - Review of the Maternal (Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women), Infant and Toddler Dietary Guidelines for the Ministry of Health
Contracted researcher - Healthy food and physical activity environments research and policy stocktake, for the National Science Challenge Healthier Lives
Co-investigator- Nutrition 2.0 Improving fruit and vegetables in children funded by Health Research Council Explorer Grant.
Teaching | Current
2019 Guest lecturer for POPLHLTH765: Nutrition interventions in Public Health, POPLHLTH316: Translating Health Information for Decision-Makers, POPLHLTH305: Community Nutrition, and EDUC300: Understanding Childhood
Pippa McKelvie-Sebileau, PhD, A Whole of Community Systems Approach to Improving Children's Nutrition in Regional New Zealand
Kaitlin Greenway, MPH, Food insecurity among 8-year-olds in the Growing Up in New Zealand study
Lauren Hunter, MPH, How does living through a crisis affect mealtime behaviours? Findings from the
literature and the COVID Kai Survey
Imogen Neilson, MPH, Changes to grocery shopping, cooking, and diet during the COVID-19 lockdown among New Zealanders facing financial difficulties
Kyaw Hla, MPH, Topic: Changes in the consumption of alcohol during the early phase of Covid-19 pandemic in 38 countries
Eva Liu, MHSc (Dietetics) Topic: Fussy Eating and Food Neophobia in Childhood: Longitudinal Analyses of Data from the Growing Up in New Zealand Study.
Suzanne Albon, MHSc, Topic: A comparison of nutrition environments in early childhood education services in Oslo, Norway and New Zealand
Saswata Ray, PhD, Topic: An exploration of young adults understanding and awareness of food-related interactions and communications on social-media
Diego Moreno, MPP, Topic: How can New Zealand regulate obesogenic environments within and around schools? A double framework analysis.
Shanjivan Padarath, MPH, Topic: Are commercially prepared baby foods meeting national dietary guidelines recommended for infants and toddlers?
Alexandra Cristea, MPH: Sugar-sweetened beverage policies and availability in Auckland Council Sport and Recreation Centres
Shona Gomes, MHSc (Dietetics) Topic: Development of sodium benchmarks for fast-food restaurants and an investigation of their feasibility
2019, School of Population Health Emerging Researcher Best Poster
2017, School of Population Health's Doctoral Publication Excellence prize
2015, Best Doctoral Oral Presentation Prize, Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development Science Symposium
2013-2017, University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship
2013-2017, Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development Postgraduate Scholarship
Associate Director, Growing Up in New Zealand
Areas of expertise
Child health / Public health nutrition / Population health / Food environments / Food insecurity / Eating behaviours / Infant feeding / Research evidence synthesis (umbrella reviews) / Nutrition policy / Knowledge translation
Food Policy Expert Panel Member, Health Coalition Aotearoa
Associated Researcher, Global Childhoods Research Centre, University of Auckland
Public Health Association of New Zealand
Auckland Public Health Nutrition Network
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Gerritsen, S. C., Harre, S., Rees, D., Renker-Darby, A., Bartos, A. E., Waterlander, W. E., & Swinburn, B. (2020). Community Group Model Building as a Method for Engaging Participants and Mobilising Action in Public Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (10)10.3390/ijerph17103457
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ann Bartos, Boyd Swinburn
- Swinburn, B., & Gerritsen, S. (2019). Overconsumption and the global syndemic. In M. Lawrence, S. Friel (Eds.) Healthy and sustainable food systems (pp. 135-146). Abingdon, Oxon, U.K.: Routledge. Related URL.
- Gerritsen, S., Renker-Darby, A., Harré S, Rees, D., Raroa, D. A., Eickstaedt, M., ... Waterlander, W. E. (2019). Improving low fruit and vegetable intake in children: Findings from a system dynamics, community group model building study. PloS one, 14 (8)10.1371/journal.pone.0221107
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ann Bartos, Boyd Swinburn
- Gerritsen, S. C., Harre, S., Swinburn, B., Rees, D., Renker-Darby, A., Bartos, A. E., & Waterlander, W. (2019). Systemic Barriers and Equitable Interventions to Improve Vegetable and Fruit Intake in Children: Interviews with National Food System Actors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (8), 1387-1387. 10.3390/ijerph16081387
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Boyd Swinburn, David Rees, Ann Bartos
- Gerritsen, S., Anderson, S. E., Morton, S. M., & Wall, C. R. (2018). Pre-school nutrition-related behaviours at home and early childhood education services: findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. Public health nutrition, 21 (7), 1222-1231. 10.1017/s1368980017004116
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Susan Morton, Clare Wall, Paul Hofman
- Gerritsen, S. C. (2018). Realising the potential of early childhood education environments for obesity prevention The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
- Gerritsen, S., Dean, B., Morton, S. M., & Wall, C. R. (2017). Do childcare menus meet nutrition guidelines? Quantity, variety and quality of food provided in New Zealand Early Childhood Education services. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41 (4), 345-351. 10.1111/1753-6405.12667
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Susan Morton, Clare Wall
- Gerritsen, S. C., & Wall, C. R. (2017). How We Eat: Reviews of the evidence on food and eating behaviours related to diet and body size. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Health. Related URL.
Mobile phone: 0220501700
Primary office location
M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 1, Room 1115
28 PARK AVE