Lisa Te Morenga (Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa) is Senior Lecturer Māori Health in the School of Health. She 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 is a principal investigator with Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research at the University of Otago and an associate investigator with the Riddet Institute – a National Centre of Research Excellence food material science, novel food processing, human nutrition and gastrointestinal biology and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga – New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. Lisa’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). Lisa’s 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 pidemiological 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.