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DSM staff profile

Professor Rachael Taylor

PositionResearch Professor, Karitane Fellow in Early Childhood Obesity
DepartmentDepartment of Medicine (DSM)
QualificationsBSc(Hons) PhD
Research summaryHow sleep, diet, and activity affect weight management in children
Memberships
  • Secretary and Executive Member, Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society
  • Associated Editor, Pediatric Obesity
  • Expert Advisory Group on Childhood Obesity, Ministry of Health
  • Research-only representative, Divisional Research Committee

Research

Professor Rachael Taylor is the Karitane Fellow in Early Childhood Obesity. Rachael is also Deputy Head of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre, one of the University's flagship Research Centres.

"Developing and trialing different ways of tackling the worldwide problem of childhood obesity is a fascinating area to work in. New ideas and initiatives are constantly being developed which makes for an interesting and continually evolving area of science."

Rachael is interested in determining how sleep, diet, and physical activity can be manipulated to favourably affect body weight throughout the life cycle but particularly in childhood. Her work consists of observational studies and randomised controlled trials.

Current research includes:

  • Sleep: Validating new techniques for the measurement of 24-hour activity profiles in children, and mechanistic studies determining how inadequate sleep influences eating and activity behaviour during growth
  • BLISS (Baby-Led Introduction to Solids): To determine if using foods that infants can feed themselves encourages self-regulation of energy intake, and prevents the development of overweight (without detrimental effects on iron status and growth). 200 infants are participating in a two-year trial
  • Play: A study of 900 Otago and Auckland children which investigates whether changing school play space to encourage children to experience and manage risk affects physical activity, body weight, and bullying
  • POI (Prevention of Overweight in Infancy): A two-year trial investigating whether additional guidance around breastfeeding, food, activity and sleep can impact on the rate of weight gain in 800 infants. These participants will now be followed up to 5 years of age.

Publications

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Fangupo, L. J., Wheeler, B. J., Taylor, B. J., Daniels, L., Fleming, E. A., McArthur, J., Morison, B., Williams Erickson, L., Davies, R. S., Bacchus, S., Cameron, S. L., & Heath, A.-L. M. (2017). Effect of a baby-led approach to complementary feeding on infant growth and overweight: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(9), 838-846. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1284

Farmer, V. L., Williams, S. M., Mann, J. I., Schofield, G., McPhee, J. C., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). The effect of increasing risk and challenge in the school playground on physical activity and weight in children: A cluster randomised controlled trial (PLAY). International Journal of Obesity, 41, 793-800. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.41

Taylor, R. W., Cox, A., Knight, L., Brown, D. A., Meredith-Jones, K., Haszard, J. J., Dawson, A. M., Taylor, B. J., & Williams, S. M. (2015). A tailored family-based obesity intervention: A randomized trial. Pediatrics, 136(2), 281-289. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0595

Carter, P. J., Taylor, B. J., Williams, S. M., & Taylor, R. W. (2011). Longitudinal analysis of sleep in relation to BMI and body fat in children: The FLAME study. BMJ, 342, d2712. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2712

Taylor, R. W., McAuley, K. A., Barbezat, W., Farmer, V. L., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2008). Two-year follow-up of an obesity prevention initiative in children: The APPLE project. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88(5), 1371-1377.

Journal - Research Article

Farmer, V. L., Williams, S. M., Mann, J. I., Schofield, G., McPhee, J. C., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). The effect of increasing risk and challenge in the school playground on physical activity and weight in children: A cluster randomised controlled trial (PLAY). International Journal of Obesity, 41, 793-800. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.41

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, 25(9), 1490-1498. doi: 10.1002/oby.21898

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Fangupo, L. J., Wheeler, B. J., Taylor, B. J., Daniels, L., Fleming, E. A., McArthur, J., Morison, B., Williams Erickson, L., Davies, R. S., Bacchus, S., Cameron, S. L., & Heath, A.-L. M. (2017). Effect of a baby-led approach to complementary feeding on infant growth and overweight: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 171(9), 838-846. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1284

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

Farmer, V. L., Fitzgerald, R. P., Williams, S. M., Mann, J. I., Schofield, G., McPhee, J. C., & Taylor, R. W. (2017). What did schools experience from participating in a randomised controlled study (PLAY) that prioritised risk and challenge in active play for children while at school? Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 17(3), 239-257. doi: 10.1080/14729679.2017.1286993

Fangupo, L. J., Heath, A.-L. M., Williams, S. M., Erickson Williams, L. J., Morison, B. J., Fleming, E. A., Taylor, B. J., Wheeler, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2016). A baby-led approach to eating solids and risk of choking. Pediatrics, 138(4). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-0772

Meredith-Jones, K., Williams, S., Galland, B., Kennedy, G., & Taylor, R. (2016). 24 h Accelerometry: Impact of sleep-screening methods on estimates of sedentary behaviour and physical activity while awake. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(7), 679-685. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1068438

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., Cox, A., Knight, L., Brown, D. A., Meredith-Jones, K., Haszard, J. J., Dawson, A. M., Taylor, B. J., & Williams, S. M. (2015). A tailored family-based obesity intervention: A randomized trial. Pediatrics, 136(2), 281-289. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0595

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Farmer, V. L., & Taylor, B. J. (2015). The stability of sleep patterns in children 3 to 7 years of age. Journal of Pediatrics, 166(3), 697-702. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.11.014

Dawson, A. M., Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Taylor, B. J., & Brown, D. A. (2014). Do parents recall and understand children's weight status information after BMI screening? A randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 4(7), e004481. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004481

Dawson, A. M., Brown, D. A., Cox, A., Williams, S. M., Treacy, L., Haszard, J., Meredith-Jones, K., Hargreaves, E., Taylor, B. J., Ross, J., & Taylor, R. W. (2014). Using motivational interviewing for weight feedback to parents of young children. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, 50(6), 461-470. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12518

Williams, S. M., Farmer, V. L., Taylor, B. J., & Taylor, R. W. (2014). Do more active children sleep more? A repeated cross-sectional analysis using accelerometry. PLoS ONE, 9(4), e93117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093117

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Farmer, V. L., & Taylor, B. J. (2013). Changes in physical activity over time in young children: A longitudinal study using accelerometers. PLoS ONE, 8(11), e81567. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081567

Taylor, B. J., Heath, A.-L. M., Galland, B. C., Gray, A. R., Lawrence, J. A., Sayers, R. M., Dale, K., Coppell, K. J., & Taylor, R. W. (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

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Grant, A. M., Taylor, B. J., & Goulding, A. (2011). Predictive ability of waist-to-height in relation to adiposity in children is not improved with age and sex-specific values. Obesity, 19(5), 1062-1068. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.217

Taylor, R. W., Farmer, V. L., Cameron, S. L., Meredith-Jones, K., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2011). School playgrounds and physical activity policies as predictors of school and home time activity. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 8, 38. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-38

Carter, P. J., Taylor, B. J., Williams, S. M., & Taylor, R. W. (2011). Longitudinal analysis of sleep in relation to BMI and body fat in children: The FLAME study. BMJ, 342, d2712. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2712

Taylor, R. W., Brooking, L., Williams, S. M., Manning, P. J., Sutherland, W. H., Coppell, K. J., Tipene-Leach, D., Dale, K. S., McAuley, K. A., & Mann, J. I. (2010). Body mass index and waist circumference cutoffs to define obesity in indigenous New Zealanders. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92, 390-397. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29317

Askie, L. M., Baur, L. A., Campbell, K., Daniels, L. A., Hesketh, K., Magarey, A., … Taylor, B., Taylor, R., … EPOCH Collaboration. (2010). The Early Prevention of Obesity in CHildren (EPOCH) Collaboration: An individual patient data prospective meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 10, 728. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-728

Taylor, R. W., Brown, D., Dawson, A. M., Haszard, J., Cox, A., Rose, E. A., Taylor, B. J., Meredith-Jones, K., Treacy, L., Ross, J., & Williams, S. M. (2010). Motivational interviewing for screening and feedback and encouraging lifestyle changes to reduce relative weight in 4-8 year old children: Design of the MInT study. BMC Public Health, 10, 271. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-271

McAuley, K. A., Taylor, R. W., Farmer, V. L., Hansen, P., Williams, S. M., Booker, C. S., & Mann, J. I. (2010). Economic evaluation of a community-based obesity prevention program in children: The APPLE project. Obesity, 18(1), 131-136. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.148

Goulding, A., Taylor, R. W., Grant, A. M., Parnell, W. R., Wilson, N. C., & Williams, S. M. (2010). Waist-to-height ratios in relation to BMI z-scores in three ethnic groups from a representative sample of New Zealand children aged 5-14 years. International Journal of Obesity, 34, 1188-1190. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.278

Taylor, R. W., Grant, A. M., Williams, S. M., & Goulding, A. (2010). Sex differences in regional body fat distribution from pre- to postpuberty. Obesity, 18(7), 1410-1416. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.399

Nielsen, G., Taylor, R., Williams, S., & Mann, J. (2010). Permanent play facilities in school playgrounds as a determinant of children's activity. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 7(4), 490-496.

Goulding, A., Taylor, R. W., Grant, A. M., Jones, S., Taylor, B. J., & Williams, S. (2009). Relationships of appendicular LMI and total body LMI to bone mass and physical activity levels in a birth cohort of New Zealand five-year olds. Bone, 45, 455-459. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.05.007

Dale, K. S., McAuley, K. A., Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Farmer, V. L., Hansen, P., Vorgers, S. M., Chisholm, A. W., & Mann, J. I. (2009). Determining optimal approaches for weight maintenance: A randomized controlled trial. CMAJ, 180(10), E39-E46. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.080974

Taylor, R. W., Murdoch, L., Carter, P., Gerrard, D. F., Williams, S. M., & Taylor, B. J. (2009). Longitudinal study of physical activity and inactivity in preschoolers: The FLAME study. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 41(1), 96-102. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181849d81

Taylor, R. W., McAuley, K. A., Barbezat, W., Farmer, V. L., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2008). Two-year follow-up of an obesity prevention initiative in children: The APPLE project. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88(5), 1371-1377.

Goulding, A., Taylor, R. W., Grant, A. M., Murdoch, L., Williams, S. M., & Taylor, B. J. (2008). Relationship of total body fat mass to bone area in New Zealand five-year-olds. Calcified Tissue International, 82, 293-299. doi: 10.1007/s00223-008-9121-x

Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Grant, A. M., Ferguson, E., Taylor, B. J., & Goulding, A. (2008). Waist circumference as a measure of trunk fat mass in children aged 3 to 5 years. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 3(4), 226-233. doi: 10.1080/17477160802030429

Grant, A. M., Taungapeau, F. K., McAuley, K. A., Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Waldron, M. A., Duncan, A. W., Harper, M. J., & Goulding, A. (2008). Body mass index status is effective in identifying metabolic syndrome components and insulin resistance in Pacific Island teenagers living in New Zealand. Metabolism, 57, 511-516. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2007.11.013

Goulding, A., Grant, A. M., Taylor, R. W., Williams, S. M., Parnell, W. R., Wilson, N., & Mann, J. (2007). Ethnic differences in extreme obesity. Journal of Pediatrics, 151, 542-544. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.07.011

Miller, J. C., Grant, A. M., Drummond, B. K., Williams, S. M., Taylor, R. W., & Goulding, A. (2007). DXA measurements confirm that parental perceptions of elevated adiposity in young children are poor. Obesity, 15(1), 165-171. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.558

Taylor, R. W., McAuley, K. A., Barbezat, W., Strong, A., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2007). APPLE project: 2-y findings of a community-based obesity prevention program in primary school-age children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86, 735-742.

McAuley, K. A., Smith, K. J., Taylor, R. W., McLay, R. T., Williams, S. M., & Mann, J. I. (2006). Long-term effects of popular dietary approaches on weight loss and features of insulin resistance. International Journal of Obesity, 30(2), 342-349. doi: doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0803075

Taylor, R. W., McAuley, K. A., Williams, S. M., Barbezat, W., Nielsen, G., & Mann, J. I. (2006). Reducing weight gain in children through enhancing physical activity and nutrition: The APPLE project. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 1(3), 146-152. doi: 10.1080/17477160600881247

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