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Supporting weight loss study among presentations at upcoming conference

Thursday 14 August 2014 8:08am

A postgraduate and early career nutrition conference will be held later this month.

One of the most difficult aspects of losing weight can be sticking to healthy lifestyle changes over the long term.

It’s a challenge Otago researchers Michelle Jospe and Dr Melyssa Roy hope to make easier with a new trial the pair will begin in October.

The SWIFT trial aims to investigate how best to support adherence to lifestyle changes by examining the effectiveness of various support strategies.

Ms Jospe says that as a dietitian she sees many of her patients struggle to stick to their diets, whatever those diets might be.

“I am keen to discover which of our support strategies – which can all be implemented in a general practice – can best help patients who are faced with the difficult task of losing weight,” she says.

"We are looking for adults (18 years and older) who are overweight but not diabetic, and are interested in trying different ways of changing their diet and exercise habits."

During the two-year trial, participants will choose the diet and exercise option they would like to follow. Diet options will include intermittent fasting, a modified ‘Palaeolithic’ type diet and a Mediterranean diet. Exercise options are to include moderate exercise for 30 minutes each day or doing high intensity but much quicker exercise at home.

Dr Roy says that with their diet and exercise plan chosen, participants will be put into one of five groups testing different ways of supporting people to make positive behavioural changes.

The team will begin recruiting the 250 participants needed to run the study in September.

“We are looking for adults (18 years and older) who are overweight but not diabetic, and are interested in trying different ways of changing their diet and exercise habits,” says Ms Jospe.

Anyone interested in participating in the SWIFT study is invited to email to register their interest. The trial itself is scheduled to begin in October this year.

Ms Jospe and Dr Roy will present the methodology behind the SWIFT study at a Postgraduate and Early Career Nutrition Conference being held at Arana College on 26 August.

Organiser Dr Sonya Cameron says the aim of the conference is to showcase the research of emerging New Zealand nutritional scientists and give postgraduate and early career researchers like Ms Jospe and Dr Roy an opportunity to share their work with fellow nutrition researchers and the wider community.

“This gathering will bring to the foreground the diverse, world-class nutrition research being conducted in New Zealand and highlight the prosects of future research direction,” says Dr Cameron.

In addition to presentations from postgraduate and early career researchers, Professor Jim Mann will deliver the keynote address at the event. There will also be a series of career sessions and networking opportunities.

“We are hoping the supportive environment created at this conference with the career sessions, and listening to presentations from other delegates will provide a unique educational opportunity.”

The Postgraduate and Early Career Nutrition Conference is generously supported by the Heart Foundation of New Zealand and the University of Otago.

Conference details:

Postgraduate and Early Career Nutrition Conference
Tue 26 Aug, 9am to 4.30pm
Arana College, 110 Clyde Street, Dunedin
Cost: $50 (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)
Register online
All welcome.