Public Health Nutrition Research

Public Health Nutrition is a research theme from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food

Our research focuses on modifying our food environments to improve the health of our population.  We aim to improve people’s diets to reduce chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

There are sub groups in the population at high risk of developing chronic diseases and conditions caused by food environments that lead to poor food choices. These groups include indigenous Australians living in very remote communities, young adults entering tertiary education, and shift workers.

Our work with indigenous Australians is addressing the inequities in food supply and security.  Working together with indigenous communities, we are informing policies to improve access to store foods and traditional foods. We are investigating how local indigenous food economies are improving people’s diets through better access to traditional foods.

Another major goal is to transform food retail environments to ensure healthy choices are easy choices for consumers.  Within a retail setting, we are modifying practices (including product placement, pricing and promotion) to support customers to buy fewer discretionary foods such as soft drinks and high sugary foods.

Using the Victorian government’s Achievement Program, we’re making healthy choices easier in retail, catering and vending machines to prevent weight gain among young adults. Our research in food security is supporting local government to improve access to food for vulnerable population groups.

We work in close collaboration with community leaders, food retailers and local to ensure our research goals are realistic, achievable and meet the needs of the community.

This research theme is led by Associate Professor Julie Brimblecombe, who has an established profile in Indigenous public health nutrition.  She holds an NHMRC TRIP fellowship and is a honorary fellow with Menzies School of Health Research. She leads an extensive body of research through a wide network of research collaborations in Australia and internationally.

Current research areas