Healthy Weight explained
Not having a healthy weight is the most important factor leading to the burden of disease as an adult. With one in three NZ children overweight or obese, the earlier we intervene and ensure children have a healthy weight, the better their long-term health and wellbeing.
- Investigates the prevalence of obesity.
- Develops an obesity prediction model.
- Investigates how a prediction model might be accepted and acted upon by diverse New Zealand communities, with a focus on Māori and Pacific families and children.
What we are doing
- With the Big Data group, a paper has been published showing an across the board decline in obesity in New Zealand 4-year-olds.
- Data from more than 18 focus groups, with an emphasis on Maori and Pacific communities, will investigate the views of parents and grandparents on what comprises a healthy and an unhealthy weight in children. Most parents (>80%) of overweight and obese children do not see their child’s weight as a health issue.
- A clinical trial is underway to investigate whether encapsulated gut microbiome from healthy lean ‘super donors’ can effectively treat severe adolescent obesity.
Professor Rachael Taylor
Karitane Fellow in Early Childhood Obesity, Otago University
Professor Rachael Taylor leads the Healthy Weight theme for A Better Start. Her areas of interest include determining how body weight is affected by sleep, diet and physical activity, particularly in childhood. Her current research includes work focused on sleep, feeding and infants, play, and prevention of overweight in infants.
Dr Karen Leong
Dr Leong is a paediatrician from Malaysia and has recently completed her fellowship in Paediatric Endocrinology. She is enrolled as a PhD student in Biomedical Science at the Liggins Institute and is working as a clinical research fellow under the supervision of Professor Wayne Cutfield. She is currently studying the association between the usage of antibiotics in mothers during pregnancy, and in children in early life, on the development of obesity in later childhood. She is also part of the ‘Gut Bugs Trial’, a clinical study involving assessments and treatment of obese adolescents with gut bacteria and examining the effects of this treatment on their weight and metabolism.
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