Diet SIG

SIG leaders

List of Investigators


  • Associate Professor Gina Ambrosini, University of Western Australia, Department of Health
  • Dr Gina Trapp, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Jane Scott, Curtin University
  • Emeritus Professor Lawrence Beilin, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Leon Straker, Curtin University
  • Professor Philippa Lyons-Wall, Edith Cowan University
  • Professor Trevor Mori, University of Western Australia
  • Professor David Lawrence, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Dr Lucinda Black, Curtin University
  • Dr Eva Malacova, Curtin University
  • Dr Carol Wang, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Kathy Zhu, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
  • Professor John Walsh, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
  • Professor Leon Adams, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Susan Byrne, University of Western Australia
  • Assoc/Professor Bryan Boruff, University of Western Australia


  • Dr Anna Rangan, University of Sydney
  • Dr Jazzmin Zhang, University of Sydney
  • Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli, University of Sydney
  • Dr Sheri Cooper, Southern Cross University


  • Professor Berthold Koletzko, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Professor Veit Grote, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Dr Geeta Appannah, Universiti Putra, Malaysia
  • Dr Jianghong Li, Berlin Social Science Centre, Germany
  • Dr Siobhan Sutcliffe, University of Washington, USA
  • Professor Susan Jebb, University of Oxford, UK
  • Dr Veronica Luque Moreno, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain

Overview of the current data resources available in the SIG area

Generation 1

  • Semi-quantitative CSIRO food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) 14yrs and 17 yrs;
  • Cancer Council of Victoria FFQ at 20 yrs & 22 yrs.

Generation 2

  • Breastfeeding duration – age milk other than breast milk introduced, age breastfeeding stopped
  • Timing of introduction of solids
  • 24 hr diet recalls at 1, 2 and 3y follow up
  • Semi-quantitative CSIRO food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) 14yrs and 17 yrs;
  • Cancer Council of Victoria FFQ at 20 yrs & 22 yrs.
  • 3 day food diary at 14 yrs
  • Specialist derived variables
  • Empirically derived dietary pattern scores. 14 yrs-23yrs: Western and Healthy (factor analysis); Energy-dense, high fat, low fibre (reduced rank regression); protein, calcium, and potassium (reduced regression).
  • Intakes of major food groups 14 yrs-22 yrs
  • Glycemic index and glycemic load, 14 yrs
  • Fructose, 14 yrs
  • Toddler eating score, 1 yr-3 yrs
  • KidMed score (Mediterranean dietary score), 14 yrs, 17 yrs
  • Dietary Guidelines Index score (Wendy Chan), 14 yrs, 17 yrs

Overview of current/recent SIG activity

Considerable work is being undertaken using Raine Study dietary data, to better understand the relationships between dietary intake and the early development of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, bone disorders, and mental health disorders.  The longitudinal dietary data collected in the Raine Study makes it an ideal cohort to study these factors, and the Diet SIG welcomes new research proposals and collaborations.

Some of the current research projects are listed below:

  • Dairy fat and cardio-metabolic health from adolescence to young adulthood.
  • Dietary Fibre and its Association with Inflammation and Mental Health in an Adolescent and Young Adult Population: Does dietary fibre contribute to depression via inflammation?
  • Dietary intake and sources of flavonoids, and the relation to health outcomes in Australian adolescents.
  • Plant-based diets in the prevention of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • The Health Star Rating of adolescent diet and longitudinal associations with adult cardio-metabolic health.
  • Infant feeding and growth trajectory patterns in childhood and body composition in young adulthood.
  • Dietary patterns, body mass index and inflammation: pathways to depression and mental health problems in adolescents.
  • Maternal lifestyle characteristics and early diet: the early years in the Raine Study (Ages 1, 2 and 3 yrs).
  • Are dietary patterns associated with bio-markers of inflammation and vascular function?
  • Relationship between dietary and erythrocyte fats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and other cardio-metabolic risk factors in adolescents followed to adulthood.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder and Early Childhood diet.

Please contact the Diet SIG Leaders if you are interested in a research project incorporating Diet data and they will coordinate whom to contact within the group.

Outline of SIG plans for next 5 years

Brief list of potential student/early career researcher projects

Top 5-10 key findings (with reference)

  • Longer breast feeding helps reduce the risk of childhood asthma and respiratory illness.  Oddy WH, Holt PG, Sly PD, Read AW, Landau LI, Stanley FJ, Kendall G, Burton PR. The association between breastfeeding and asthma in six-year-old children: findings from a prospective birth cohort study. British Medical Journal 1999;319:815-819. A significant reduction in the risk of childhood asthma at six years was related to at least four months of exclusive breast feeding.  Oddy WH, Sly PD, de Klerk NH, Landau LI, Kendall GE, Holt PG, Stanley FJ. Breast feeding and respiratory morbidity in infancy: a birth cohort study. Arch Dis Child 2003;88(3): 224-228.
  • Better quality breakfast is related to better mental health in early adolescence.  O’Sullivan TA. Robinson M, Kendall GE., Miller M, Jacoby P, de Klerk NH. Silburn SR, Oddy WH. A good quality breakfast is associated with better mental health in adolescence. Public Health Nutr. 2009; 12 (2): 249-258. For every additional food group eaten at breakfast, the associated mental health score improved, even after adjustment for potential confounding factors.
  • Lifestyle and family psycho-social environment were related to dietary patterns in Australian adolescents. 
  • Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Robinson M, O’Sullivan TA, Hands BP, De Klerk NH, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Kendall GE, Stanley FJ, Beilin LJ. Adolescent dietary patterns are associated with lifestyle and family psycho-social factors. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(10):1807-15.
  • Dietary patterns are associated with CVD risk factors.  Ambrosini, G, Huang RC, Mori T, O’Sullivan TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH. Dietary patterns and markers for MetS in an adolescent cohort. Nutr Metabol Cardio Dis 2010; 20 (4): 274-83. Better behavioural outcomes were associated with a higher intake of fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables, while poorer outcomes were associated with a Western style diet.
  • Dietary pattern at 14 years was associated with a risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at 17 years.  Oddy WH, Herbison CE, Jacoby P, Ambrosini GL, O’Sullivan TA, Ayonrinde OT, Olynyk JK, Black LJ, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Hands BP, Adams LA. The Western dietary pattern is prospectively associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(5):778-85. A Western dietary pattern at 14 years was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD at 17 years, particularly in obese adolescents.
  • High sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) intake may be an important predictor of cardio-metabolic risk in young people, independent of weight status.  Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Huang RC, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Jebb SA. Prospective associations between sugar-sweetened beverage intakes and cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr 2013; 98 (2): 327-34. Higher intakes of sugar sweetened beverages (such as softdrinks) during adolescence were associated with unfavourable changes in cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Examination between Energy drink consumption and mental health found that energy drink consumption was associated with increased anxiety in males.  Trapp GS, Allen K, O’Sullivan TA, Robinson M, Jacoby P, Oddy WH.  Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young males.  Depression and Anxiety 2014;31(5):42-280.
  • Regular and reduced fat dairy products were associated with heart health, with a better cholesterol profile in boys.  O’Sullivan TA, Bremner AP, Mori TA et al.  Regular fat and reduced fat dairy products show similar associations with markers of adolescent cardio-metabolic health.  Nutrients, 2016;8(1), 22; doi:10.3390/nu8010022.

List of indicative recent publications

  • Oddy WH, Allen KL, Trapp GSA, Ambrosini GL, Black LJ, Huang R-C, Rzehak P, Runions KC, Pan F, Beilin LJ, et al. Dietary patterns, body mass index and inflammation: Pathways to depression and mental health problems in adolescents. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 2018;69:428-39
  • Rzehak P, Oddy WH, Mearin ML, Grote V, Mori T, Szajewska H, Shamir R, Koletzko S, Weber M, Beilin LJ, Huang RC, Koletzko B. Infant feeding and growth trajectory patterns in childhood and body composition in young adulthood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017; 106 (2): 568-580.
  • Grace T, Oddy W, Bulsara M, Hands B. Breastfeeding and motor development: A longitudinal cohort study. Human Movement Science (2017) 51 9-16.
  • Brennan-Jones C, Eikelboom R, Jacques A, Swanepoel DW, Atlas M, Whitehouse A, Jamieson S, Oddy WH. Protective benefit of predominant breastfeeding against otitis media may be limited to early childhood: results from a prospective birth cohort study Clinical Otolaryngology (2017) 42 1 29-37.
  • Trapp GSA, Allen KL, Black LJ, Ambrosini GL, Jacoby P, Byrne S, Oddy WH. A prospective investigation of dietary patterns and internalising and externalising mental health problems in adolescents. Food Science and Nutrition. (2016) 4 6 888-896.
  • Ayonrinde O, Adams L, Doherty D, Mori T, Beilin L, Oddy W, Hickey M, Sloboda D, Olynyk J, Hart R. Adverse metabolic phenotype of adolescent girls with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease plus polycystic ovary syndrome compared with other girls and boys. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2016) 31 5 980-987.
  • Gaillard R, Welten M, Oddy WH, Beilin LJH, Mori TA, Jaddoe V, Huang RC. Associations of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and gestational weight gain with cardio-metabolic risk factors in adolescent offspring: a prospective cohort study. British Journal Obstetrics and Gynacology (2016) 123 2 207-16.
  • Nyaradi A, Li J, Foster JK, Hickling S, Jacques A, O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH. Good quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica (2016) 105 5 e209–e218.

List of current/recent grants

  • Trapp G, Cross D, Martin K, Christian H, Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH.  Energy drinks: an emerging health risk for children and adolescents. Telethon-Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund: $249,719; 2017-18.
  • Ambrosini GL. Determining modifiable lifecourse influences that lead to poor diets in young adults: a prospective analysis in the Raine Study. WA Department of Health Merit Award: $75,000; 2016.
  • Trapp G, Allen K, Martin K, Oddy WH, Christian H, Ambrosini GL.  The health impacts of energy drinks: cause for concern ?  Healthway (Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation), Health Promotion Starter Grant: $29,993; 2015-2016.
  • Oddy WH, Adams LA, Byrne SM, Mori TA. Nutritional determinants of cardiometabolic risk and mental health: from infancy to adulthood. NHMRC Project Grant (1022134):$481,750;2012-14.

Examples of recent media

  • Therese O’Sullivan (Raine Study dairy intake project)

– 882 6PR Radio, Perth Tonight Research into full vs reduced fat milk 28 Sept 2016.

– Community newspaper group ECU Joondalup researcher puts milk under microscope 20 Sept 2016

– Joondalup Times Low down on dairy 23 Feb 2016

– 666 ABC Canberra, Are low fat and skim milks healthy? 16 Feb 2016

– Channel 7 news (national) Low fat vs regular fat dairy products. 10 Feb 2016

– Channel 9 news (national) New study casts a shadow over low fat dairy products. 10 Feb 2016

– ABC National radio Is low fat milk still the healthiest choice? 10 Feb 2016

– Radio National, Canberra Results from the Raine Study 10 Feb 2016

– SBS online Is low fat dairy healthier? 9 Feb 2016

  • Wendy Oddy

– ABC Hobart, Fruit and vegetable intake and psychological well-being March 2016

-ABC Hobart, Diet inflammation and mental health March 2018.

Other data

The Raine Study has extensive data on genetics, phenotypes, behaviours, environment and social outcomes that can be linked with dietary data.  For example physical and mental health, other health-related behaviours.