The University of Newcastle, Australia

Healthy eating options on the table for young Australians

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Young Australian adults will now have free access to personalised dietary advice available at their fingertips, with the launch of a new website aimed at improving the eating habits of the country’s unhealthiest age group.

NMNT Project team - Dr Lee Ashton, A-Prof Tracy Burrows, Prof Clare Collins, Dr Megan Rollo and Dr Marc Adam

With 98 per cent of 18-24 year olds in Australia failing to meet daily fruit and vegetable requirements*, the No Money, No Time (NMNT) site will provide cheap and easy meal ideas, along with quality online resources, to help set long-term healthy eating behaviours.

Funded by nib foundation and co-led by Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI**), Clare Collins, the website aims to remove the barriers of money and time to help improve the overall health of Australians and reduce the risk of preventable chronic diseases later in life.

“We have found that during young adulthood there is a lot of change in living arrangements, relationships and employment status,” Professor Collins said.

“There are also a lot of competing time demands for this group, including socialising, study, work, family and parenthood, which can take priority over healthy eating habits, so it’s really important to provide advice that fits in with their needs and lifestyle.

“We know the majority of young Australians seek nutrition advice from friends or via the internet, which can result in a lot of dietary misinformation, so this website will deliver credible advice in a format they are familiar with.”

Dr Lee Ashton, who is a nutrition researcher at the University of Newcastle and HMRI and co-led the research with Professor Collins, said the site will integrate existing assessment tools developed through the University’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, and HMRI, including the Healthy Eating Quiz.

“Once individuals complete the Healthy Eating Quiz, they’ll be provided with an easy-to-understand diet score and personalised goals to help improve specific areas of their diet,” said Dr Ashton.

“Based on their scores, the user will receive simple but nutritious recipes that they can filter according to kitchen equipment, for example microwave or pan, motivators such as to lose weight or improve sports performance, and dietary requirements. Scores will also be stored in a personalised dashboard so participants can track their progress and receive continued support over time.”

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said they were delighted to see the project reach this milestone phase.

“It’s fantastic to see the program grow from what was once an idea to now an interactive, freely-accessible website that’s full of great tips and advice to keep our young people healthy for life,” Ms Tribe said.

In 2018, nib foundation provided $893,750 in philanthropic funding to support the project’s development over three years.

*Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey: First results 2014-2015.

** HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.


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