Thursday 15 December 2016 10:30am
Rachael Taylor (right), from the Department of Medicine, is one of seventeen leading academics from the University of Otago to be promoted to full professor in 2016. With Otago's extremely rigorous promotion processes, Rachael's appointment is a well-earned reflection of her research excellence.
Rachael's research aims to determine how best to help people effectively manage their weight and improve their health, in a world that makes this increasingly difficult to do so. In New Zealand, one in three children, and two in three adults, are overweight or obese. Without urgent solutions, the consequences of this excess weight have the potential to cripple our healthcare system, already struggling to cope with obesity, diabetes and related complications. Her body of work ranges from mechanistic studies determining how different behaviours such as sleep and physical activity affect our body weight, to testing a range of intervention approaches in people of all ages.
For example, recent large trials have examined how sleep and the introduction of complementary foods affect weight during infancy, whether introducing greater risk and challenge in the school playground increases physical activity and reduces bullying in children, and the use of high-intensity interval training and intermittent fasting as weight loss approaches in adults.