12 Sep Nayland students participate in world first research study to increase understanding of how sugar impacts New Zealanders

A partnership between scientists at the Maurice Wilkins Centre of the University of Auckland, New Zealand secondary schools and their communities, meant that year nine science students had first hand experience as subjects in an experiment.

The aim of the study is to find out how people differ in the way they absorb the fructose component of sugar. 

On the first day students completed a short questionnaire in class, which included information on height, weight, bio-impedance (a method for measuring body composition) and waist circumference.

Teacher of Science, Mrs Banke explained that

The students didn’t have breakfast, when they came to school they had a fructose drink and for the following hour they tested the hydrogen in their breath.

…the study may continue over several years depending on the outcomes from this year.

The test is an indicator for how good the students were at absorbing fructose.

Fructose appears to the least understood of the sugars and is often associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other metabolic diseases.

There has been much debate about how much sugar affects or harms the health of children, however surprisingly little hard research on its biological effects on the body.

This research study experience helps to reinforce our students learning about nutrition and health,  provide real world science investigations, learning about the nature of science and the impact new knowledge can have on our society.

By Cristy Monds