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Researcher profiles:

Sleeping, eating, and physical activity

The Prevention of Overweight in Infancy ( POI ) study was a 4-arm randomised controlled trial assessing whether extra education and support around sleep, breastfeeding, diet, and physical activity reduced the number of children showing excessive weight gain over the first two years of life. More than 800 Dunedin families took part in POI .

At two years of age, we observed that children who had received the sleep intervention had approximately half the odds of obesity than children who had not received the sleep intervention. Some exciting results indicate that this benefit is still apparent at 3.5 and 5 years of age.

Funding for the original intervention plus follow-up at 3.5, 5 and 11 years  of age was obtained from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Australasian collaboration

POI is part of EPOCH – Early Prevention of Overweight in Infancy, a collaboration of 4 Australasian studies investigating early life approaches to obesity prevention.

Novel lines of enquiry

Novel aspects include analysis of the gut microbiota and its relationship with obesity in young children, investigation of how self-regulation emerges during growth, analysis of compositional time-use data early in life, and pre-bed and in-bed use of electronic devices before sleep.


Seidler, A. L., Hunter, K. E., Baur, L., Espinoza, D., Taylor, R. W., Wen, L. M., Hesketh, K. D., Campbell, K., Daniels, L., Mihrshahi, S., Rissel, C., Taylor, B., & Askie, L. M.. (2022) Examining the sustainability of effects of early childhood obesity prevention interventions: Follow‐up of the EPOCH individual participant data prospective meta‐analysis. Pediatric Obesity.

Fangupo, L., Haszard, J., Galland, B., Taylor, B., Heath, A. L., Healey, D., Meredith-Jones, K., Sayers, R., Hatch, B., & Taylor, R. (2022) Investigating the moderators and mediators of an effective sleep intervention in the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy (POI) randomized controlled trial: Exploratory analyses. Clinical obesity, e12516. Advance online publication.

Adebowale, T. O., Taylor, B. J., Gray, A. R., Galland, B. C., Heath, A. M., Fortune, S., Meredith-Jones, K. A., Sullivan, T., McIntosh, D., Brosnan, B., & Taylor, R. W. (2020) Long-Term Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial to Reduce Excessive Weight Gain in Infancy: Protocol for the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy (POI) Follow-Up Study at 11 Years. JMIR research protocols, 9(11), e24968.

Seidler, A.L., Hunter, K.E., Johnson, B.J., Ekambareshwar, M., Taki, S., Mauch, C.E., Mihrshahi, S., Askie, L., Campbell, K.J., Daniels, L., Taylor, R.W., Wen, L.M., Byrne, R., Lawrence, J., Perlstein, R., Wardle, K., Golley, R.K. (2020) Understanding, comparing and learning from the four EPOCH early childhood obesity prevention interventions: A multi-methods study. Pediatric Obesity. Jun 15:e12679. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12679

Roy, M., Haszard, J.J., Savage, J.S., Yolton, K., Beebe, D.W., Xu, Y., Galland, B., Paul, I.M., Mindell, J.A., Mihrshahi, S., Wen, L.M., Taylor, B., Richards, R., Te Morenga, L., Taylor, R.W. (2020) Bedtime, body mass index and obesity risk in preschool-aged children. Pediatric Obesity. May 6. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12650

Haszard, J.J., Russell, C.G., Byrne, R.A., Taylor, R.W., Campbell, K.J. (2019) Early maternal feeding practices: Associations with overweight later in childhood. Appetite 132:91-96. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.10.008.

Lawrence, J.A., Taylor, R.W., Galland, B.C. et alWilliams, S., Gray, A., Sayers, R.M, Taylor, B. (2018) Family discipline practices with infants at 6 months of age. Child Care in Practice 25:4, 383-398, doi: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1463969


Shackleton, N., Milne, B.J., Audas, R., Derraik, J.G.B., Zhu, T., Taylor, R.W., Morton, S.M.B., Glover, M., Cutfield, W.S., Taylor, B. (2018) Improving rates of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children in 2010-2016. Pediatric Obesity 13(12):766-777. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12260

Taylor, R.W., Haszard, J.J., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Galland, B.C., Heath, A.M., Lawrence, J., Gray, A.R., Sayers, R., Hanna, M., Taylor, B.J. (2018) 24-h movement behaviors from infancy to preschool: cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships with body composition and bone health. International Journal of Behaviour Nutrition and Physical Activity. 15(1):118. doi: 10.1186/s12966-018-0753-6

Russell, C.G., Haszard, J.J., Taylor, R.W., Heath, A.M., Taylor, B., Campbell, K.J. (2018) Parental feeding practices associated with children's eating and weight: What are parents of toddlers and preschool children doing? Appetite 128:120-128. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.05.145.

Taylor, R.W., Heath, A.-L. M., Galland, B.C., Lawrence, J., Sayers, R., Healey, D., Tannock, G.W., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Hanna, M., Hatch, B., Taylor, B.J. (2018) Sleep, nutrition and physical activity interventions to prevent obesity in infancy: Follow-up of the POI randomized controlled trial at 3.5 & 5 years. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 108(2):228-236. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy090


Meredith-Jones, K., Haszard, J., Moir, C., Heath, A.-L., Lawrence, J., Galland, B., Taylor, B., Gray, A., Sayers, R., & Taylor, R. (2018). Physical activity and inactivity trajectories associated with body composition in pre-schoolers. International Journal of Obesity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0058-5

Howe, A. S., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J., Galland, B. C., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Sayers, R., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Parenting style and family type, but not child temperament, are associated with television viewing time in children at two years of age. PLoS ONE, 12(12), e0188558. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188558

Taylor, R. W., Iosua, E., Heath, A.-L. M., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Lawrence, J. A., Hanna, M., Cameron, S. L., Sayers, R., & Galland, B. (2017). Eating frequency in relation to BMI in very young children: A longitudinal analysis. Public Health Nutrition, 20(8), 1372-1379. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017000143

Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Cameron, S. L., Gray, A. R., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J. A., Newlands, A., Taylor, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Anticipatory guidance to prevent infant sleep problems within a randomised controlled trial: Infant, maternal and partner outcomes at 6 months of age. BMJ Open, 7(5), e014908. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014908


Taylor, B. J., Gray, A. R., Galland, B. C., Heath, A.-L. M., Lawrence, J., Sayers, R. M., Cameron, S., Hanna, M., Dale, K., Coppell, K. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). Targeting sleep, food, and activity in infants for obesity prevention: An RCT. Pediatrics, 139(3), e20162037. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2037

Moir, C., Meredith-Jones, K., Taylor, B. J., Gray, A., Heath, A.-L. M., Dale, K., Galland, B., Lawrence, J., Sayers, R. M., & Taylor, R. W. (2016). Early intervention to encourage physical activity in infants and toddlers: A randomized controlled trial. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(12), 2446-2453. doi: 10.1249/mss.0000000000001055

Taylor, R. W., Heath, A.-L. M., Galland, B. C., Cameron, S. L., Lawrence, J. A., Gray, A. R., Tannock, G. W., Lawley, B., Healey, D., Sayers, R. M., Hanna, M., Meredith-Jones, K., Hatch, B., & Taylor, B. J. (2016). Three-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial to reduce excessive weight gain in the first two years of life: Protocol for the POI follow-up study. BMC Public Health, 16, 771. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3383-4

Galland, B., Meredith-Jones, K., Gray, A., Sayers, R., Lawrence, J., Taylor, B., & Taylor, R. (2016). Criteria for nap identification in infants and young children using 24-h actigraphy and agreement with parental diary. Sleep Medicine, 19, 85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.10.013


Cameron, S. L., Heath, A.-L. M., Gray, A. R., Churcher, B., Davies, R. S., Newlands, A., Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Lawrence, J. A., Taylor, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2015). Lactation consultant support from late pregnancy with an educational intervention at 4 months of age delays the introduction of complementary foods in a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nutrition, 145(7),  1481-1490 doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202689

Fangupo, L. J., Heath, A.-L. M., Williams, S. M., Somerville, M. R., Lawrence, J. A., Gray, A. R., Taylor, B. J., Mills, V. C., Watson, E. O., Galland, B. C., Sayers, R. M., Hanna, M. B., & Taylor, R. W. (2015). Impact of an early-life intervention on the nutrition behaviors of 2-y-old children: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(3), 704-712. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.111823

Taylor, B.J,, Heath, A-L.M., Galland, B.C., Gray, A.R., Lawrence, J.A., Sayers, R., Dale, K., Coppell, K.J., & Taylor RW. (2011). Prevention of overweight in infancy ( POI .nz) study: a randomised controlled trial of sleep, food and activity interventions for preventing overweight from birth. BMC Public Health (11), 942. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-942

Askie, L.M., Baur, L.A., Campbell, K., Daniels, L.A., Hesketh, K., Magarey, A., Mihrshahi, S., Rissel, C., Simes, J., Taylor, B., Taylor, R., Voysey, M., Wen, L..M, EPOCH Collaboration. (2010). The early prevention of obesity in Children (EPOCH) collaboration – an individual patient-data prospective meta-analysis. BMC Public Health (10), 728-735.  doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-728


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