Diet SIG


SIG leaders

  • Assoc Prof Gina Ambrosini, School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia (
  • Dr Therese O’Sullivan, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University (

List of Investigators

  • Dr Gina Trapp, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Jane Scott, School of Public Health, Curtin University
  • E/Prof Lawrence Beilin, Medical School, University of Western Australia
  • Professor Leon Straker, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise, Curtin University
  • Prof Philippa Lyons-Wall, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University
  • Prof Trevor Mori, Medical School, University of Western Australia
  • Prof Wendy Oddy, Adjunct Professor, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia (Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania)
  • Dr Anna Rangan and Dr Jazzmin Zhang, University of Sydney
  • Prof Margaret Allman-Farinelli, University of Sydney
  • Dr Sheri Cooper, Southern Cross University
  • Prof Berthold Koletzko and Prof 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
  • Prof Susan Jebb, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Dr Veronica Luque Moreno, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain

Overview of the current data resources available in the SIG area

  • Infant feeding and timing of introduction of solids
  • 24 hr diet recalls at 1, 2 and 3y follow up; toddler eating score
  • Evaluated semi-quantitative FFQ from 14y to current follow up
  • 3 day food diary (14 y)
  • Nutrition biomarkers: red blood cell fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin D and iron studies
  • Metabolomics (20 y)
  • Empirically derived and validated dietary pattern scores (14-23 y)
  • Glycemic index, glycemic load, fructose intake (14 y)
  • Dietary Guidelines Index score

Overview of current/recent SIG activity

Currently a range of different projects are working with Raine Study dietary data; these involve other Raine Study SIGs, national collaborators, and international collaborators in the US, UK and Europe.  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.  Projects are also examining the social and environmental determinants of dietary intake, to inform interventions for improving population dietary intakes. 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.

Outline of SIG plans for next 5 years

  • Continue making high quality dietary assessments at each core follow up with increased use of digital technologies.
  • Increase the inclusion of early-career and mid-career researchers as CIs on grants relevant to Raine Study nutrition data, for capacity building and succession planning.
  • Undertake high quality dietary assessments in 1st and 3rd generations in the Raine Study.
  • Establish new collaborations with other Raine Study SIGs e.g. Respiratory, Immunology & Inflammation, Genetics, Biostatistics; and strengthen existing collaborations e.g. Cardiometabolic, Built & Social Environment, Psychological, Bio, Musculoskeletal
  • Increase international and national collaborations with the Diet SIG by attracting overseas and interstate postdocs, PhDs and other investigators

Brief list of potential student/early career researcher projects

  • Are dietary patterns associated with biomarkers of inflammation and vascular function? (Ambrosini)
  • 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.

Top 5-10 key findings (with reference)

Nutrition work in the Raine Study began with Prof Oddy’s PhD looking at early risk factors for childhood asthma.  She found a significant reduction in the risk of childhood asthma at six years if exclusive breast feeding is continued for at least the four months after birth.1 These findings are important for our understanding of the cause of childhood asthma and suggest that public health interventions to optimise breast feeding may help to reduce the community burden of childhood asthma and its associated traits. Raine data also indicated that a longer duration of breastfeeding may reduce the prevalence and subsequent morbidity of respiratory illness and infection in infancy.2


  • 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.
  • Oddy WH, Robinson M, Ambrosini GL, O’Sullivan TA, de Klerk NH, Beilin LJ, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Stanley FJ. The association between dietary patterns and mental health in early adolescence. Prev Med. 2009;49(1):39-44. 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

List of indicative recent publications

  • 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.
  • O’Sullivan TA, Bremner A, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Wilson C, Hafekost K, Ambrosini GL, Huang RC, Oddy WH. Regular fat and low fat dairy products show similar associations with markers of adolescent cardiometabolic health. Nutrients 2016; 8(1): 22 doi:10.3390/nu8010022.
  • Appannah G, Pot GK, Huang RC, Oddy WH, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Jebb SA, Ambrosini GL. Identification of a dietary pattern associated with greater cardiometabolic risk in adolescence. Nutr Metabol Cardiovasc Dis. 2015;25(7): 643-50.
  • O’Sullivan TA, Bremner AP, Bremer HK, Seares ME, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Lyons-Wall P, Devine A, Oddy WH. Dairy product consumption, dietary nutrient and energy density and associations with obesity in Australian adolescents. J Human Nutr Diet 2015;28(5):452-64.
  • van den Hooven EH, Ambrosini GL, Huang R-C, Mountain J, Straker L, Walsh JP, Zhu K, Oddy WH. Identification of a dietary pattern prospectively associated with bone mass in Australian young adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(5):1035-43.
  • Appannah G, Pot GK, O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH, Jebb SA, Ambrosini GL. The reliability of an adolescent dietary pattern identified using reduced rank regression: comparison of a FFQ and 3-day food record. Br J Nutr 2014; 112(4):609-15.
  • Nicholl A, du Heaume M, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH, Bremner AP, O’Sullivan TA. Higher breakfast glycaemic load is associated with increased metabolic syndrome risk, including lower HDL-cholesterol concentrations and increased TAG concentrations, in adolescent girls. Br J Nutr 2014: 112(12): 1974-83.
  • Oddy WH, Mori TA, Huang RC, Marsh J, Pennell C, Jacoby P, Rzehak P, Koletzko B, Beilin LJ. Early infant feeding and adiposity risk: from infancy to adulthood. Ann Nutr Metabol 2014;64:262-270.
  • O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH, Bremner AP, Sherriff JL, Ayonrinde OT, Olynyk JK, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Adams LA. Lower fructose intake may help protect against development of non-alcoholic fatty liver in obese adolescents. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2014; 58(5):624- 631.
  • Trapp GS, Allen K, O’Sullivan TA, Robinson M, Jacoby P, Oddy WH. Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young adult males. Depression and Anxiety 2014;31(5):420–428.

List of current/recent grants

  • 2017-18; 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.
  • 2015-2016; 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.
  • 2012-2017; Oddy WH, Stanley FJ, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Pennell C. Long-term influence of early nutrition on metabolic health. NHMRC- EU collaborative grant ID (1037966).
  • 2012-2014; Oddy WH, Adams LA, Byrne SM, Mori TA. Nutritional determinants of cardiometabolic risk and mental health: from infancy to adulthood. NHMRC Project Grant (1022134).
  • 2012; O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH, Beilin LJ, Mori TA. Redefining ‘good’ fats: Are regular fat dairy products associated with lower metabolic syndrome risk than low fat products in adolescence? Dairy Innovation Australia.

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