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Researcher profiles:

Obesity is a major health issue for New Zealanders

Obesity and related chronic diseases are some of the foremost health issues facing New Zealand people, with over two thirds of the adult population now overweight or obese.

Decades of research have shown that most diet/exercise programmes, that result in caloric deficit, should lead to weight loss regardless of the type of diet or physical activity.

How do we best support lifestyle changes?

It would appear that the main challenge is how best to support adherence to lifestyle change.

The SWIFT trial evaluated four support strategies:

  • daily self-weighing
  • regular brief support
  • hunger training
  • dietary self-monitoring with MyFitnessPal

250 overweight adults participated in this trial.

Do outcomes improve if participants choose their plan?

Participants chose which diet and exercise plan suited them best; we believed this pragmatic approach would promote better outcomes.

Options included topical and popular weight-loss strategies such as:

  • intermittent fasting
  • 'paleo'-type diets
  • high intensity interval training


Jospe, M.R., Haszard, J.J., Taylor, R.W., Freedhoff, Y. (2020) A tool for assessing the satisfaction of a diet: Development and preliminary validation of the Diet Satisfaction Score. Nutrition and Dietetics. 77(2):268-273. doi: 10.1111/1747-0080.12591

Jospe, M.R., Roy, M., Brown, R.C., Hazard, J.J., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Fangupo, L.J.,  Osborne, H.R., Fleming, E.A., Taylor, R.W. (2019) Intermittent fasting, Paleolithic, or Mediterranean diets in the real world: exploratory secondary analyses of a weight-loss trial that included choice of diet and exercise. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 111(3):503-514.


Taylor, R.W., Roy, M. (2019) Response to comment on: High-Intensity Interval Training in the Real World: Outcomes from a 12-Month Intervention in Overweight Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 51(2):390. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001799

Roy, M.C., Williams, S.M., Brown, R.C., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Osborne, H.R., Jospe, M.R., Taylor, R.W. (2018) High-Intensity Interval Training in the Real World: Outcomes from a 12-Month Intervention in Overweight Adults. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 50(9):1818–1826. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001642

Roy, M.C., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Osborne, H.R., Williams, S.M., Brown, R.C., Jospe, M.R., Taylor, R.W. (2018) The importance of medical assessment prior to high-intensity interval training. N Z Med J. Jun 8;131(1476):100-102.

Jospe, M.R., Brown, R.C., Williams, S.M., Roy, M., Meredith-Jones, K.A., Taylor, R.W.  (2018) Self-monitoring has no adverse effect on disordered eating in adults seeking treatment for obesity. Obes Sci Pract. Apr 19;4(3):283-288. doi: 10.1002/osp4.168


Jospe, M.R., Taylor, R.W., Athens, J., Roy, M., Brown, R.C. (2017) Adherence to Hunger Training over 6 Months and the Effect on Weight and Eating Behaviour: Secondary Analysis of a Randomised Controlled Trial. Nutrients. Nov 17;9(11). pii: E1260. doi: 10.3390/nu9111260

Jospe, M.R., Roy, M., Brown, R.C., Williams, S.M., Osborne, H.R., Meredith-Jones, K.A., McArthur, J.R., Fleming, E.A., Taylor, R.W. (2017) The Effect of Different Types of Monitoring Strategies on Weight Loss: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). Sep;25(9):1490-1498. doi: 10.1002/oby.21898

Taylor, R.W., Roy, M., Jospe, M.R., Osborne, H.R., Meredith-Jones, K.J., Williams, S.M., Brown, R.C. (2015) Determining how best to support overweight adults to adhere to lifestyle change: protocol for the SWIFT study. BMC Public Health. Sep 4;15:861. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2205-4

Jospe, M.R., Brown, R.C., Roy, M., Taylor, R.W. (2015) Adherence to hunger training using blood glucose monitoring: a feasibility study. Nutr Metab (Lond). Jun 9;12:22. doi: 10.1186/s12986-015-0017-2


Photo of spoon, fork and knife standing against a green background

Graphic design skills applied to research

Michelle Jospe, who worked on the SWIFT study as a PhD student, describes her pathway into research.
From designer to dietitian Otago Bulletin, University of Otago website

michelle jospe thumb
Michelle with her award-winning poster.

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