The relationship between diet and mental health in children and young adults

Research Opportunity
Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Sharon Lewis sharon.lewis@mcri.edu.au 9936 6558 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Katherine Lange katherine.lange@mcri.edu.au 9936 6282 Personal web page

Summary This project utilises two large independent population-based cohorts of Australian children and adults - (1) the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) with the nested Child Health CheckPoint physical health and biospecimens module, and (2) the Clinical review of the Health in adults conceived with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (CHART) study. Potential students will use linear regression to investigate the association between dietary intake (such as fresh fruit, raw and cooked vegetables, fatty foods, dairy, meat and fish) and mental health in mid-childhood.

Project Details

Mental illness confers up to 60% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, with the majority of common mental illnesses predicted to begin prior to 14 years of age. This highlights the need to understand what impacts mental health from early childhood, in order to most effectively apply preventative measures at the right time. Numerous studies have demonstrated a relationship between diet quality and mental health, although the specific factors driving this relationship are largely unclear. This project will investigate the association between specific components of dietary intake and mental health, and the potential blood metabolites mediating this relationship.     This project utilises two large independent population-based cohorts of Australian children and adults - (1) the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) with the nested Child Health CheckPoint physical health and biospecimens module, and (2) the Clinical review of the Health in adults conceived with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (CHART) study. Potential students will use linear regression to investigate the association between dietary intake (such as fresh fruit, raw and cooked vegetables, fatty foods, dairy, meat and fish) and mental health in mid-childhood. Time permitting, key intermediate blood metabolites will be explored as potential mediators in the relationship in children and young adults. The results may inform potential areas for early intervention to improve long-term mental health.     This project will suit a student with an interest in population-based health, developing statistical experience and Stata skills. Some prior experience in basic statistical techniques or analytical packages (such as Stata, R, MPlus or MATLAB) would be an advantage. The broader research team includes expertise in longitudinal and high-throughput metabolomic data analyses, statistical support, and access to Stata software and expertise to conduct the project. Given the large, high quality data available, findings are likely to be published in a quality journal.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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