Dr Sara Styles is a lecturer in the Department of Human Nutrition with a background in psychology, behavioural nutrition, and public health. Her research focuses on understanding and promoting health and well-being in the general population and people with Type 1 diabetes.
Sara has extensive expertise in the development and evaluation of behaviour change interventions to promote health. She has vast experience using qualitative and quantitative research methods (primarily surveys, feasibility studies, randomised controlled trials, and descriptive qualitative studies).
She is currently testing the feasibility of validating a snacking questionnaire for New Zealand youth with Type 1 Diabetes and using the Multiphase Optimisation Strategy (MOST) to develop an intervention to improve glycaemic control among young people with Type 1 diabetes. A Lottery Health Research-funded optimisation trial will evaluate brief intervention components targeting glucose monitoring, snacking, sleep, and motivation. Previously, she developed and tested a web-based intervention that taught women intuitive eating and psychological flexibility skills. This research found that teaching intuitive eating and psychological flexibility skills to mid-age women with a higher than recommended body mass is a promising approach for increasing intuitive eating, psychological flexibility and general mental health, as well as reducing binge eating.
Before moving to New Zealand in 2012, Sara worked as a Health Programme Specialist for Broome County Office for Aging (New York, USA). In this role, she delivered public talks on nutrition topics and co-led interventions to prevent falls and enhance skills to self-manage Type 2 Diabetes in older adults.
Sara welcomes postgraduate students with an interest in behavioural nutrition.
- Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Current postgraduate students
- Hannah Martin. Change in motivational profiles for eating behaviour over five years in New Zealand women and their associations with intuitive eating (primary supervisor).
- Mona Elbalshy. Investigating a new Type 1 Diabetes glucose monitoring technology and its impact on children and their families (co-supervisor).
- Ioanna Katiforis. Impact of living in a food insecure household on New Zealand infants 7.0-9.9 months of age and their primary carer (co-supervisor).
- Shelley Rose. The role and impact of glucose monitoring technology in youth with Type 1 Diabetes (co-supervisor).
Master of Health Sciences
- Olivia Coady. The barriers and facilitators in adhering to the New Zealand Healthy Food and Drink Guidance-Schools (2020) in New Zealand Secondary School Canteens (co-supervisor).
Master of Medical Science
- Jessica Wong. Diabetes-related technology (co-supervisor).
- Melanie Thompson, PhD 2021. Changes in intuitive eating in mid-age New Zealand women: A mixed-methods study (primary supervisor).
- Brooke Marsters, BMedSc(Hons) 2020. Flash glucose monitoring among youth with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: cutaneous adverse events and sensor longevity (co-supervisor).
- Grace Macaulay, BMedSc(Hons) 2018. Sleep disturbance in children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and their parents (co-supervisor).
Sergel-Stringer, O. T., Al-Sallami, H. S., Styles, S. E., Boucsein, A., de Bock, M. I., & Wheeler, B. J. (2023). Knowledge, safety, and impact of alcohol consumption in young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A qualitative study. BMC Endocrine Disorders, 23, 229. doi: 10.1186/s12902-023-01471-7
Jefferies, C. A., Boucsein, A., Styles, S. E., Chamberlain, B., Michaels, V. R., Crockett, H. R., … Wiltshire, E. J., … Wheeler, B. J. (2023). Effects of 12-weeks Freestyle Libre 2.0 in children with type 1 diabetes and elevated HbA1c: A multi-centre randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1089/dia.2023.0292
Sergel-Stringer, O. T., Wheeler, B. J., Styles, S. E., Boucsein, A., Lever, C. S., Paul, R. G., Sampson, R., Watson, A., & de Bock, M. I. (2023). Acceptability and experiences of real-time continuous glucose monitoring in adults with type 2 diabetes using insulin: A qualitative study. Proceedings of the 46th New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) Annual Scientific Meeting. Poster 12. Retrieved from https://www.nzssd.org.nz/home.html
Sergel-Stringer, O. T., Al-Sallami, H. S., Styles, S. E., Boucsein, A., de Bock, M., & Wheeler, B. J. (2023). Knowledge, safety, and impact of alcohol consumption in young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A qualitative study. Proceedings of the 46th New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) Annual Scientific Meeting. Poster 1. Retrieved from https://www.nzssd.org.nz/home.html
Boucsein, A., Wheeler, B., Chamberlain, B., Styles, S., Crocket, H., Wiltshire, E., … de Bock, M., & Jefferies, C. (2023). A comparison of FreeStyle Libre 2 to self-monitoring of blood glucose in children with type 1 diabetes and sub-optimal glycaemic control: A 12-week randomised controlled trial. Proceedings of the 46th New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) Annual Scientific Meeting. Oral 4. Retrieved from https://www.nzssd.org.nz/home.html