Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Human Potential Centre at AUT
Grant Schofield is Professor of Public Health at Auckland University of Technology and Director of the University’s Human Potential Centre (HPC), located at the Millennium Campus in Auckland, New Zealand.
His research and teaching interests are in well-being and chronic disease prevention, especially reducing the risk and eventual mortality and morbidity from obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. He lives by the motto “be the best you can be” and has a strong commitment to peak performance in which he also does consulting work. He is also the Chief Education Advisor of Health and Nutrition.
Grant has been interested in human health and performance for his whole career. He started in psychology, went into sport and exercise psychology, then into public health, especially physical activity, and then obesity.
He aims to know how we can be the best we can be. This crosses disciplines such as biology, medicine, public health and productivity management. The cornerstones are nutrition, exercise, sleep, neuroscience, psychology and well-being. In his blog, he covers these topics under the broad heading of the Science of Human Potential.
He is known for “challenging current beliefs” in his field. His current project base and a large group of talented postgraduate thesis students show an exciting range of these challenges.
He maintains a “multi-fluency across psychology, physiology, public health, epidemiology and human performance.
Professor Schofield takes a “think outside the box” approach to his work in tackling the big health problems of our times.
Source: AUT NZ University
- LCHF (Low Carbohydrate High Fat)
- physical activity and nutrition health promotion
- primary care and workplaces as settings to promote healthy lifestyles
- urban design and health, especially physical activity
- reducing sedentary behaviour (physical activity and cognition)
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
- Challenging conventional nutritional beliefs though low-carb, high-fat nutrition: This is an exciting set of projects and student theses that looks carefully at basic human metabolic health and what foods support that (or not). We believe it is likely that the low-fat diet approaches and lipid hypothesis perpetuated over the last several decades may have caused more harm than good. Our emerging work shows the problems of hyperinsulinemia (chronically high insulin) in the development of chronic diseases. We have several feasibility trials underway in different groups looking at how people respond and adhere to diets which are low in carbohydrate but high in fat. These may have therapeutic outcomes across a range of metabolic issues from overweight to diabetes to cardiovascular disease.
- Standing up: we are interested in how changing environmental design in workspaces affects health. We have designed, developed and tested a range of standing office furniture.
- Go play: we are interested in how we encourage risky and free range play in children. The benefits of risk and adventure on children’s (not adults’) terms may be large.
- Flourishing and positive health: our team is interested in reorienting the NZ health system to be more than a deficit model of fixing sick people. We are pioneering the concept of positive health in NZ. Borrowing and building heavily on the work in positive psychology, we have developed the Sovereign Wellbeing Index (see www.mywellbeing.co.nz.). This is a biannual survey looking at what helps New Zealanders to flourish.
- Healthy cities: we have a strong interest and several large international projects looking at how urban form affects human health, especially physical activity.