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Nutrition and food literacy across the lifespan

A healthy start to life can improve wellbeing and reduce risk of chronic disease, with wide social and economic benefits. Good nutrition in the early years helps to optimise growth and development, and also helps establish a solid foundation for healthy eating habits that can carry on throughout life. Our teams consist of experienced researchers and clinicians known nationally and internationally. We are passionate about improving child health and translating our research into practice and policy through engagement with such organisations as schools and the early years sectors, and the National Nutrition Network.

For more information, contact Professor Amanda Devine or  Tas Masih (Dietetics research enquiries - t.masih@ecu.edu.au)

Current projects

Research Team

  • Fran Patey
  • Jennifer Hanna
  • Julie Hill
  • Sheryl Munro
  • Analise Nicholl, PhD
  • Cassandra Cuffe, PhD
  • Catherine Properzi, PhD
  • Kane Deering, PhD
  • Jo Rees, PhD
  • Margaret Miller, PhD
  • Ros Sambell, PhD

Postgraduate student project opportunities

  • Development of healthy eating behaviours from infancy.
  • Examining the adequacy of food budgets in Early Childhood Education and Care services in Perth, Western Australia.
  • Family Day Care: A whole setting approach to health 2020.
  • Trends of oral health among children aged 0-5 years in WA, nutrition and the role of the caregiver.

For more information visit the SMHS Higher Degree by Research or HDR students project opportunities webpages.

Key Publications

  1. Ayonrinde OT, Ayonrinde OA, Adams LA, Sanfilippo FM, O’Sullivan TA, Robinson M, Oddy WH, Olynyk JK. (2020). The relationship between abdominal pain and emotional wellbeing in children and adolescents in the Raine Study. Sci Reports, 10, article 1646. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58543-0
  2. Deering KE, Devine A, O’Sullivan TA, Lo J, Boyce MC, & Christophersen CT. (2020). Characterizing the Composition of the Pediatric Gut Microbiome: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 12(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010016
  3. Kent K, Charlton K, O’Sullivan T, Oddy WH. (2020). Estimated intake and major food sources of flavonoids among Australian adolescents. Eur J Nutr. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02218-z
  4. NG Fletcher J, Mackey David A, O’Sullivan TA, Oddy Wendy H, Yazar Seyhan. (2020). Is Dietary vitamin A is associated with myopia from adolescence to young adulthood? Translational Vision Science and Technology, 9, article 29. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.6.29
  5. O’Sullivan TA, Schmidt K, Kratz M. (2020). Whole-fat or reduced-fat dairy product intake, adiposity, and cardiometabolic health in children: a systematic review. Adv Nutr. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa011
  6. Sambell, R., Wallace, R., Lo, J., Costello, L., & Devine, A. (2020). Increasing Food Expenditure in Long Day-care by an Extra $0.50 per Child/Day Would Improve Core Food Group Provision. Nutrients, 12(4), Article 968. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu12040968
  7. Wallace, R., Lombardo, K., DeBacker, C., Costello, L., Devine, A. (2020). Sharing is Caring: A Study of Food-Sharing Practices in Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Services. Nutrients, 12(1), 229. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010229
  8. Ayonrinde, O., Sanfilippo, F., O'Sullivan, T., Adams, L., Ayonrinde, O., Robinson, M., Oddy, W., & Olynyk, J. (2019). Bowel patterns, gastrointestinal symptoms and emotional well‐being in adolescents–A cohort study. J Gastro Hepatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.14699
  9. Connolly, E., Reinkowsky, M., Giglia, R., Lo, J., Sexton, B., Lyons-Wall, P., O’Sullivan, T.A. (2019). Education on antenatal colostrum expression and the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in an Australian hospital: an audit of birth and breastfeeding outcomes. Breastfeeding Review, 27(1).
  10. Hua, T., Sambell, R., Wallace, R., Vale, S., & Devine, A. (2019). Food allergy management in Early Childhood Education and Care Services in Australia. J Paediatr Child Health.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.14633
  11. O’Sullivan, T.A, Cooke, J., McCafferty, C & Giglia, R. (2019). Online video instruction on hand expression of colostrum in pregnancy is an effective educational tool. Nutrients, 11(4): 883. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu11040883
  12. Sambell, R., Wallace, R., Costello, L., Lo, J., & Devine, A. (2019), Measuring food provision in Western Australian long day care (LDC) services: a weighed food record method/protocol at a service level. Nutrition Journal, 18(1), Article 38. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-019-0462-2
  13. Swann, O., Breslin, M., Kilpatrick, M., O’Sullivan, T., Oddy, W. (2019). Differences in dietary fibre intake and associated familial factors in a longitudinal study at two time points across adolescence. Public Health Nutr. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1368980019003446
  14. Barber, R., Ekin, A., Sivakumar, P., Howard, K., & O’Sullivan, T. (2018). Glucose Gel as a Potential Alternative Treatment to Infant Formula for Neonatal Hypoglycaemia in Australia. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(5): 876.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050876
  15. Nicholl, A., & O’Sullivan, T. (2018). Keep calm and carry on: parental opinions on improving clinical trials for young children. Nutrients, 10(9), 1166, special issue: Dietary Interventions: From Development to Assessment of Efficacy and Effectiveness. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu10091166
  16. Wallace, R.,  Costello, L., & Devine, A. (2018). Exploring sense of community among early childhood education and care professionals through the Supporting Nutrition for Australian Childcare (SNAC) website. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 43(4):23-32. https://doi.org/10.23965%2FAJEC.43.4.03
  17. Wallace, R., Costello, L., Devine, A. (2018). Netnographic slog: Creative Elicitation Strategies to Encourage Participation in an Online Community of Practice for Early Education and Care International Journal of Qualitative Methods, https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406918797796
  18. Nyaradi, A., Li. J., Foster, J., Hickling, S., Jacques, A., O’Sullivan, T., & Oddy, W. (2016). Good quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica, 105(5):e209-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13324
  19. O’Sullivan, T., Bremner, A., Mori, T., Beilin, L., Wilson, C., Hafekost, K., Ambrosini, G., Huang, R., & Oddy, W. (2016). Regular fat and reduced fat dairy products show similar associations with markers of adolescent cardiometabolic health. Nutrients, 8(1), 22. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu8010022
  20. O’Sullivan, T., Bremner, A., Bremer, H., Seares, M., Beilin, L., Mori, T., Lyons‐Wall, P., Devine, A., & Oddy, W. (2015). Dairy product consumption, dietary nutrient and energy density and associations with obesity in Australian adolescents. J Hum Nutr Diet, 28(5):452-64. https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12264
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