Assoc Prof Te Morenga (Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa) is a nutrition and Māori health researcher, Rutherford Discovery Fellow and Associate Investigator with the Riddet Centre of Research Excellence. Her research interests relate to supporting individuals, whanau and communities to achieve good health through being able to access healthy affordable food. Her research is translational – applying basic nutrition evidence to enhance human health and wellbeing, and ultimately informing food and nutrition policy. Undertaking research addressing health inequities amongst Māori and Pacific communities is a key theme of her research.

Assoc Prof Te Morenga completed a PhD in Human Nutrition in 2010 at the University of Otago and continued as a senior research fellow in the Department of Human Nutrition and Associate Dean Māori in the Division of Sciences until 2018. She remains a principal investigator with Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research at the University of Otago and an associate investigator with Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga – New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Prof Te Morenga is currently and Associate Professor with Massey University’s Centre for Public Health Research in Wellington.

Assoc Prof Te Morenga’s research interests involve the role of diet in the treatment and prevention of obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She has a special interest in the relationship between nutrition and hauora (Māori health). Her primary motivation is to undertake research that is of direct benefit to Māori and thus focuses on the role of nutrition in the development of preventable diseases that inflict a particularly high health burden on the Maori community.

Area of Expertise

Lisa’s research interests include epidemiological studies, dietary intervention studies, and systematic review and meta-analyses examining the effects of macronutrient composition (including free sugars, dietary fibre, carbohydrates, fats and protein) on physiological endpoints associated with increased risk of preventable diseases including obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Her current projects cover:

Co-design and evaluation of a mobile health (mHealth) tool to help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes Māori and Pasifika communities conducted with community partners.

The role of sleep in the development of child and adolescent obesity.

Dietary Interventions: Evidence & Translation (DIET) programme which aims to improve the diets of populations equitably.

Investigation of the health attributes of wholegrain cereal products differing in structural properties and the way that they are processed into consumer products.

Dietary intervention studies examining the effects of consuming whole fruit and large quantities of different beverages that contain different types of dietary sugars or sweetener on serum uric acid and other risk factors for the metabolic syndrome in individuals who are at risk of developing diabetes.

Development of improved methods of assessing and monitoring sugar intakes and the population and individual level including novel biomarkers in blood and hair.

Systematic review and meta-analyses of the effects of carbohydrates (including starches, sugars and dietary fibre) on health outcomes in adults and children as part of the evidence-base underpinning the revision of the WHO recommendation of carbohydrate intakes.