Food and Nutrition Research Program

Overview

The four major chronic disease categories include:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and
  4. Type 2 diabetes.  

Poor nutrition influences health and well-being across the life course. It starts from conception and continues throughout childhood, adulthood and aging, with adverse impacts exacerbated among vulnerable populations because of where they live, their cultural background, and socioeconomic status.  

Our program will address the urgent need to improve nutrition. We work closely with health professionals across differing specialities, policymakers and everyday consumers to develop quality research methods and nutrition strategies that prevent, manage and treat disease; optimising the health and well-being of our communities across the life course.

Poor diet is the number one risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease and is responsible for one in five deaths.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that approximately half of all Australians live with at least one chronic condition that is contributing to poor health, disability and even premature death.

Many individuals have two or more chronic conditions. This is referred to as 'multimorbidity'.

Innovations and Discovery

There is no 'one size fits all' approach to improving nutrition health. That is why our research is so diverse, ranging from nutritional biochemistry discovery to influencing food supply and eating environments, to technology-enabled interventions and nutrition education, to supporting health professional workforces.  

Through our research we anticipate seeing community health outcomes include improving:  

  • Chronic disease (e.g., heart disease, stroke, diabetes) and risk factors (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose)  
  • Mental ill-health and psychological wellbeing (e.g., depression, disordered eating)  
  • Food and nutrition-related behaviours (e.g., diet quality, food cooking/skills), and
  • System-level factors (e.g., uptake of nutrition strategies, change in practice.

No Money No Time

Led by Laureate Professor Clare Collins, No Money No Time (NMNT) is a website targeted at improving the nutritional health of 18-24 year old's. Currently funded by NIB Foundation, NMNT offers quick, easy and affordable recipes that meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines and provides information relating to fad diets, latest trends, superfoods and eating for Mental health. NMNT is working towards being a social movement, providing free, scienced-backed advice to all who need it. 

The Healthy Eating Quiz

The Health Eating Quiz was developed by Laureate Professor Clare Collins and her team in 2013. Currently, in its fifth version, the Healthy Eating Quiz (HEQ) has been completed over 300,000 times. The HEQ is a short survey comprising a number of food frequency questions that calculates an Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) based on diet variety. The score allows the individual to see how their diet compares to other Australians of their age and gender. Along with the ARFS score, the HEQ generates a personalised report with recommendations for improvements.  

The Australian Eating Survey

The Australian Eating Survey ® (AES) is a suite of food frequency questionnaires designed to assess the usual dietary intake of individuals aged two years and above. Each questionnaire has undergone a comprehensive evaluation for validity and reliability, and can be self-administered, completed by parents (for young children) or by interview. The AES is a fee-based tool used by over 150 researchers nationwide and has over 40,000 surveys in circulation.  

The Healthy Rural Hearts (or) Healthy R Hearts

The Healthy Rural Hearts project or the Health R Hearts project is MRFF funded and led by Laureate Professor Clare Collins and Dr Tracy Schumacher. Led by University of Newcastle Laureate Professor Clare Collins, this randomised control study asks participants to identify nutritional changes they are able and willing to adopt. Participants are supported to make the changes with the guidance of their GP and the research team

Targeted Research on Addictive and Compulsive Eating (TRACE)

Targeted Research on Addictive and Compulsive Eating (TRACE) is a personality-based eating awareness program. TRACE is led by National Health and Medical Research Council Fellow, Prof Tracy Burrows. Addictive overeating is a growing area of research. This study will look to trial two different interventions for people experiencing difficulties with what they eat.  

Research into effective psychological interventions for comorbid mental, substance use and physical disorders

With five current National Health and Medical Research Council grants, Amanda Baker's program of research into effective psychological interventions for comorbid mental, substance use and physical disorders is set to have a very significant impact on comorbidity health service delivery and research capacity.

Projects are designed and undertaken in partnership with end-user organisations, augmenting feasibility and maximising impact.

  • Research questions address issues of high priority to practitioners
  • Findings are immediately available to inform partners’ decision-making, accelerating translation
  • Knowledge exchange is integral and builds the capacity of researchers and clinicians in applied research partnerships, and
  • Multi-disciplinary expertise and academic and end-user infrastructure are leveraged to their full potential.
Food and Nutrition Research Program Team

Leadership Group 

  • Program Lead/Chair: L/Professor Clare Collins and Professor Amanda Baker 
  • Deputy Program Lead and/or Chair: Professor Tracy Burrows 
  • Senior Representative: Expression of Interest 
  • MCR Representative: A/Professor Marc Adam and  Dr Melinda Hutchesson 
  • ECR Representative: Expression of Interest 
  • Student Representative: Expression of Interest 
  • Consumer Representative: - 
  • Program Manager: Mrs Ilyse Jones
  • Graphic design and Content Officer: Mrs Grace Manning

Professor Amanda Baker
Research Program :
  • Food and Nutrition Research Program
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health, Healthy Lifestyles, Psychology, Stress and Addictive Disorders