Miss Li Chai
Casual Research Assistant
School of Medicine and Public Health
- Phone:(02) 4921 5355
Li is a PhD candidate (Nutrition & Dietetics) at the University of Newcastle, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, and the Social Media Editor of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. She also holds a number of committee positions in scientific bodies, including Nutrition Society of Australia New South Wales branch, and ISBNPA Network of Early career researchers and Students (NESI). Li has sought experience from a variety of disciplines including clinical dietetics, community health promotion and education, nutrition behavioural research, and undergraduate teaching and supervision.
Li is a strong advocate for children’s health and nutrition. Her current research focuses on using technology to develop, deliver and evaluate nutrition and lifestyle interventions to improve children’s health and diet quality, and to prevent and manage obesity in children. Her PhD has formed collaborations between academics and hospital-based clinicians to explore the use of innovative clinical telehealth and text messaging for child nutrition and weight management intervention.
As an early career researcher, Li is highly competent as demonstrated by the DAA Emerging Researcher Award, Faculty of Health and Medicine Best Higher Degree by Research Confirmation award, publications in high impact journals, highly competitive research grants and scholarships, and her research experience across multiple settings, both academic and population health. You can follow her recent research on Research Gate and Google Scholar
Growing up in a multicultural country, Malaysia, Li is fluent in 5 languages which adds to her strengths in fostering international research collaborations, which also leads to her role as a member of an international systematic review working group (DiET-CO Consortium) consists of international experts from Australia, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, and Hong Kong. Li has remarkable communication and presentation skills which are recognized among her peers by winning the 2016 Best Higher Degree by Research Confirmation award, and receiving a number of guest speaking invitations at seminars and workshops, one of which is accessible online: Covidence Workshop
Li enjoys connecting with researchers worldwide. Say hello to her @MsLiChai on Twitter!
- Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours), University of Newcastle
- English (Fluent)
- Chinese, nec (Fluent)
- Cantonese (Fluent)
- Malay (Fluent)
- Hakka (Fluent)
- Mandarin (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|111799||Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified||40|
|111199||Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified||60|
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/11/2014 - 31/12/2015||Research Assistant||Hunter New England Population Health
Good for Kids. Good for Life
|1/9/2014 - 28/2/2015||Clinical dietitian||Nutrition Care Services
|1/4/2014 - 31/12/2014||Casual Research Assistant||University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
School of Health Sciences
|1/8/2014 - 31/12/2015||Casual Research Assistant||PRC in Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle
2016 Best Higher Degree Research Confirmation
University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences
Dietitians Association of Australia Emerging Researcher Award
Dietitians Association of Australia
Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)
The Barker PhD Award Top Up Scholarship
University of Newcastle
University of Newcastle Research Scholarship Central
Univeristy of Newcastle
University of Newcastle International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
University of Newcastle
|Year||Title / Rationale|
|2017||NEXUS Worksop: How to use NEXUS to boost online researcher profile.|
|2017||Nutrition and Dietetics Research Day: Dietary intake of children in relation to the AGHE|
|2017||Systematic Review Workshop: 50 Shades of Review – Umbrella Review. University of Newcastle School of Health Sciences Research Day|
Independent Professional Practice
University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences
|Placement supervisor||9/1/2017 - 10/2/2017|
Food Science 1
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Tutor||26/7/2016 - 25/10/2016|
Community Nutrition Practice
University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences
|Placement supervisor||21/9/2015 - 23/10/2015|
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Journal article (19 outputs)
Chai LK, Rice-Mcneil K, Trost SG, 'Patterns and correlates of sedentary behavior in children attending family child care', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (2020)
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Public health authorities recommend young children should not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time. This study a... [more]
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Public health authorities recommend young children should not be sedentary for more than one hour at a time. This study assessed the frequency and duration of sedentary bouts in children attending family child care homes (FCCHs); and examined associations with FCCH provider practices related to sedentary behaviors. Overall, 127 children (aged 3.5 ± 1.1 years) from 41 FCCHs participated in the study. Sedentary bouts were measured using an accelerometer worn for the duration of FCCHs attendance over a randomly selected week. Provider practices were assessed using the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care self-assessment instrument. Children attending FCCHs mostly accumulated short sedentary bouts (<5 min) with very few lasting more than 10 min. Boys exhibited significantly fewer sedentary bouts, and significantly less sedentary time in bouts than girls. Children attending FCCHs that met or exceeded childcare standards for outdoor active play, had portable play equipment, offered a variety of fixed play equipment, and/or adequate indoor play space exhibited significantly fewer sedentary bouts and significantly less sedentary time accumulated in short and medium length bouts. Programs encouraging FCCHs to adopt physical activity promoting practices could potentially reduce child sedentary time while in care.
Chai LK, Collins CE, May C, Ashman A, Holder C, Brown LJ, Burrows TL, 'Feasibility and efficacy of a web-based family telehealth nutrition intervention to improve child weight status and dietary intake: A pilot randomised controlled trial', JOURNAL OF TELEMEDICINE AND TELECARE, (2019)
Chai LK, May C, Collins CE, Burrows TL, 'Development of text messages targeting healthy eating for children in the context of parenting partnerships', Nutrition and Dietetics, 76 515-520 (2019) [C1]
© 2018 Dietitians Association of Australia Aim: There has been an increase in the use of text messaging to deliver and support health interventions. The aim was to develop a bank ... [more]
© 2018 Dietitians Association of Australia Aim: There has been an increase in the use of text messaging to deliver and support health interventions. The aim was to develop a bank of text messages targeting healthy eating for children in the context of parenting partnerships that could be used in a family intervention. Methods: Text messages were developed using the Theoretical Domains Framework and Behaviour Change Wheel COM-B model by study investigators using a three-phase approach: (i) initial development of a message bank; (ii) messages were reviewed and evaluated by experts and parents on their clarity, usefulness, and relevance using a 5-point Likert scale and open text spaces for additional feedback and (iii) refinement of messages content and finalised the message bank. Results: Messages were reviewed for ¿clarity¿, ¿usefulness¿ and ¿relevance¿ by 20 parents and 28 health experts, who were predominantly female (92%), parents of primary school age children (33%), of low to middle socioeconomic status (78%), with a mean age of 39 years (SD ± 9.87). From an initial set of 97 messages developed, 48 messages were retained through consultation. Messages were designed to complement the intervention, while engaging both parents. Conclusions: The three-phase development created a set of text messages acceptable to experts and parents that aim to support improvement in child eating behaviours. The process provides a template and practical guide for researchers and health providers looking to apply a systematic approach to text messages development. Future research should investigate acceptability and impact of these messages as a component of family-based nutrition intervention.
Chai LK, Yoong SL, Bucher T, Collins CE, Shrewsbury VA, 'Children's Intake of Food from Non-Fast-Food Outlets and Child-Specific Menus: A Survey of Parents.', Children, 6 (2019) [C1]
Chai LK, Collins CE, May C, Holder C, Burrows TL, 'Accuracy of Parent-Reported Child Height and Weight and Calculated Body Mass Index Compared With Objectively Measured Anthropometrics: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial', Journal of medical Internet research, 21 (2019) [C1]
Chai LK, Collins C, May C, Brain K, Wong See D, Burrows T, 'Effectiveness of family-based weight management interventions for children with overweight and obesity: an umbrella review', JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, 17 1341-1427 (2019) [C1]
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the review was to synthesize the effectiveness and strategies used in family-based behavioral childhood obesity interventions in improving child weigh... [more]
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the review was to synthesize the effectiveness and strategies used in family-based behavioral childhood obesity interventions in improving child weight-related outcomes. INTRODUCTION: Family-based interventions are common practice in the treatment of childhood obesity. Research suggests that direct parental involvement can improve child weight-related outcomes. However, challenges remain in assessing the effects of family-based interventions on child weight and weight-related behavior due to the lack of quality programs and diversity of treatment strategies. INCLUSION CRITERIA: The review included systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses of family-based behavioral interventions in children aged =18 who were classified as overweight and/or obese, and which reported child weight related outcomes, such as body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist circumferences. METHODS: Seven databases were searched from 1990 to May 2016 to identify English language publications. Reference lists of included reviews and relevant registers were also searched for additional reviews. All included systematic reviews were critically appraised by two reviewers independently. Data extracted included characteristics of included systematic reviews and weight-related outcomes reported. Data synthesis involved categorizing the interventions into seven categories and presented findings in narrative and tabular format. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. RESULTS: The umbrella review included 14 systematic reviews (low to moderate methodological quality), published between 2004 and 2015, including 47 independent trials ranging from one month to seven years follow-up conducted in more than 16 countries. The majority of reviews (93%) reported weight outcomes of children aged six to 13 years. All reviews except one indicated that family-based interventions were successful in improving child weight and/or weight-related behavior. Five reviews highlighted that parent-only interventions had similar (n¿=¿4) or greater (n¿=¿1) effectiveness compared to parent-child interventions. Effective interventions employed parent-targeted strategies, including nutrition and physical activity education sessions, positive parenting skills, role modelling and child behavior management to encourage positive healthy eating/exercise behaviors in children and/or whole family. CONCLUSIONS: Family-based interventions targeting parents, alone or with their child, are effective for child weight management. Due to the lack of high quality evidence, especially in emerging parent-only interventions, further research is warranted. Health practitioners can work with parents as agents of change and focus on fostering positive parenting skills, such as monitoring, reinforcement, role modelling, and providing a nurturing environment, in order to support health behaviors in their children. Future research needs to explore whether parent-only interventions are more cost-effective compared to parent-child interventions, and to include larger populations, longer intervention duration and follow-up.
Brain K, Burrows TL, Rollo ME, Chai LK, Clarke ED, Hayes C, et al., 'A systematic review and meta-analysis of nutrition interventions for chronic noncancer pain', Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 32 198-225 (2019) [C1]
© 2018 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Background: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the impact of nutrition interventions on participant reported pain severity and i... [more]
© 2018 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Background: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the impact of nutrition interventions on participant reported pain severity and intensity in populations with chronic pain. Methods: Eight databases were systematically searched for studies that included adult populations with a chronic pain condition, a nutrition intervention and a measure of pain. Where possible, data were pooled using meta-analysis. Seventy-one studies were included, with 23 being eligible for meta-analysis. Results: Studies were categorised into four groups: (i) altered overall diet with 12 of 16 studies finding a significant reduction in participant reported pain; (ii) altered specific nutrients with two of five studies reporting a significant reduction in participant reported pain; (iii) supplement-based interventions with 11 of 46 studies showing a significant reduction in pain; and (iv) fasting therapy with one of four studies reporting a significant reduction in pain. The meta-analysis found that, overall, nutrition interventions had a significant effect on pain reduction with studies testing an altered overall diet or just one nutrient having the greatest effect. Conclusions: This review highlights the importance and effectiveness of nutrition interventions for people who experience chronic pain.
Chai LK, Collins CE, May C, Brown LJ, Ashman A, Burrows TL, 'Fidelity and acceptability of a family-focused technology-based telehealth nutrition intervention for child weight management', JOURNAL OF TELEMEDICINE AND TELECARE, (2019)
Wolfenden L, Chai LK, Jones J, McFadyen T, Hodder R, Kingsland M, et al., 'What happens once a program has been implemented? A call for research investigating strategies to enhance public health program sustainability', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 43 3-4 (2019) [C1]
Yoong SL, Stockings E, Chai LK, Tzelepis F, Wiggers J, Oldmeadow C, et al., 'Prevalence of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use among youth globally: A systematic review and meta-analysis of country level data', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42 303-308 (2018) [C1]
© 2018 The Authors. Objective: To describe the prevalence and change in prevalence of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use in youth by country and combustible smoking s... [more]
© 2018 The Authors. Objective: To describe the prevalence and change in prevalence of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) use in youth by country and combustible smoking status. Methods: Databases and the grey literature were systematically searched to December 2015. Studies describing the prevalence of ENDS use in the general population aged =20 years in a defined geographical region were included. Where multiple estimates were available within countries, prevalence estimates of ENDS use were pooled for each country separately. Results: Data from 27 publications (36 surveys) from 13 countries were included. The prevalence of ENDS ever use in 2013¿2015 among youth were highest in Poland (62.1%; 95%CI: 59.9-64.2%), and lowest in Italy (5.9%; 95%CI: 3.3-9.2%). Among non-smoking youth, the prevalence of ENDS ever use in 2013¿2015 varied, ranging from 4.2% (95%CI: 3.8-4.6%) in the US to 14.0% in New Zealand (95%CI: 12.7-15.4%). The prevalence of ENDS ever use among current tobacco smoking youth was the highest in Canada (71.9%, 95%CI: 70.9-72.8%) and lowest in Italy (29.9%, 95%CI: 18.5-42.5%). Between 2008 and 2015, ENDS ever use among youth increased in Poland, Korea, New Zealand and the US; decreased in Italy and Canada; and remained stable in the UK. Conclusions: There is considerable heterogeneity in ENDS use among youth globally across countries and also between current smokers and non-smokers. Implications for public health: Population-level survey data on ENDS use is needed to inform public health policy and messaging globally.
McFadyen T, Chai LK, Wyse R, Kingsland M, Yoong SL, Clinton-McHarg T, et al., 'Strategies to improve the implementation of policies, practices or programmes in sporting organisations targeting poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity, risky alcohol use or tobacco use: a systematic review', BMJ open, 8 (2018) [C1]
May C, Chai LK, Burrows T, 'Parent, Partner, Co-Parent or Partnership ? The Need for Clarity as Family Systems Thinking Takes Hold in the Quest to Motivate Behavioural Change', CHILDREN-BASEL, 4 (2017) [C1]
Nathan N, Yoong SL, Sutherland R, Reilly K, Delaney T, Janssen L, et al., 'Effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention to enhance implementation of a healthy canteen policy in Australian primary schools: a randomised controlled trial', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BEHAVIORAL NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, 13 (2016) [C1]
Wolfenden L, Milat AJ, Lecathelinais C, Skelton E, Clinton-McHarg T, Williams C, et al., 'A bibliographic review of public health dissemination and implementation research output and citation rates', Preventive Medicine Reports, 4 441-443 (2016) [C1]
© 2016 The Authors The aim of this study was to describe the research output and citation rates (academic impact) of public health dissemination and implementation research accord... [more]
© 2016 The Authors The aim of this study was to describe the research output and citation rates (academic impact) of public health dissemination and implementation research according to research design and study type. A cross sectional bibliographic study was undertaken in 2013. All original data-based studies and review articles focusing on dissemination and implementation research that had been published in 10 randomly selected public health journals in 2008 were audited. The electronic database ¿Scopus¿ was used to calculate 5-year citation rates for all included publications. Of the 1648 publications examined, 216 were original data-based research or literature reviews focusing on dissemination and implementation research. Of these 72% were classified as descriptive/epidemiological, 26% were intervention and just 1.9% were measurement research. Cross-sectional studies were the most common study design (47%). Reviews, randomized trials, non-randomized trials and decision/cost-effectiveness studies each represented between 6 and 10% of all output. Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials and cohort studies were the most frequently cited study designs. The study suggests that publications that had the greatest academic impact (highest citation rates) made up only a small proportion of overall public health dissemination and implementation research output.
Yoong SL, Chai LK, Williams CM, Wiggers J, Finch M, Wolfenden L, 'Systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions targeting sleep and their impact on child body mass index, diet, and physical activity', Obesity, 24 1140-1147 (2016) [C1]
© 2016 The Obesity Society. Objective This review aimed to examine the impact of interventions involving an explicit sleep component on child body mass index (BMI), diet, and phys... [more]
© 2016 The Obesity Society. Objective This review aimed to examine the impact of interventions involving an explicit sleep component on child body mass index (BMI), diet, and physical activity. Methods A systematic search was undertaken in six databases to identify randomized controlled trials examining the impact of interventions with a sleep component on child BMI, dietary intake, and/or physical activity. A random effects meta-analysis was conducted assessing the impact of included interventions on child BMI. Results Of the eight included trials, three enforced a sleep protocol and five targeted sleep as part of multicomponent behavioral interventions either exclusively or together with nutrition and physical activity. Meta-analysis of three studies found that multicomponent behavioral interventions involving a sleep component were not significantly effective in changing child BMI (n = 360,-0.04 kg/m2 [-0.18, 0.11], I2 = 0%); however, only one study included in the meta-analysis successfully changed sleep duration in children. There were some reported improvements to adolescent diet, and only one trial examined the impact on child physical activity, where a significant effect was observed. Conclusions Findings from the included studies suggest that where improvements in child sleep duration were achieved, a positive impact on child BMI, nutrition, and physical activity was also observed.
Chai LK, Macdonald-Wicks L, Hure AJ, Burrows TL, Blumfield ML, Smith R, Collins CE, 'Disparities exist between the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and the dietary intakes of young children aged two to three years', Nutrition and Dietetics, 73 312-320 (2016) [C1]
© 2015 Dietitians Association of Australia Aim: To compare dietary intakes of young children to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) and Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs).... [more]
© 2015 Dietitians Association of Australia Aim: To compare dietary intakes of young children to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) and Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs). Methods: Dietary intakes of 54 children (50% girls) aged two to three years (mean 2.7 years) from the Women and Their Children's Health (WATCH) study were reported by mothers using a validated 120-item food frequency questionnaire. Daily consumption of AGHE food group servings, macronutrients, and micronutrients were compared to the AGHE and NRVs using t-test with significance set at P < 0.05. Results: No child achieved all AGHE targets, with the majority consuming less breads/cereals (1.9 vs 4.0 servings/day), vegetables (1.3 vs 2.5), and meat/alternatives (0.7 vs 1.0), all P < 0.0001. Adequate servings were observed for dairy (2.2 vs 1.5) and fruit (1.3 vs 1.0). Macronutrients were within recommended ranges, although 96% exceeded saturated fatty acid recommendations. Children who met selected NRVs consumed more fruit (1.4 vs 1.0; P < 0.0086), dairy (2.2 vs 1.5; P < 0.0001) and discretionary foods (2.6 vs =1.0; P < 0.0001) but less breads/cereals (2.0 vs 4.0; P < 0.0001) and vegetables (1.3 vs 2.5; P < 0.0001) servings, compared to the AGHE recommended servings. Conclusions: Child dietary intakes did not align with AGHE, while adequate nutrient profiles were achieved by various dietary patterns. Future studies involving data from larger, representative samples of children are warranted.
Burrows T, Hutchesson M, Chai LK, Rollo M, Skinner G, Collins C, 'Nutrition interventions for prevention and management of childhood obesity: What do parents want from an ehealth program?', Nutrients, 7 10469-10479 (2015) [C1]
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. With the growth of Internet technologies, offering interventions for child and family weight management in an online form... [more]
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. With the growth of Internet technologies, offering interventions for child and family weight management in an online format may address barriers to accessing services. This study aimed to investigate (i) whether an eHealth family healthy lifestyle program would be of interest to parents; and (ii) preferences and/or expectations for program components and features. Parents of children aged four to18 years were recruited through social media and completed an online survey (54 items) including closed and open-ended questions. Responses were collated using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Seventy-five participants were included (92% mothers, mean age 39.1 ± 8.6 years, mean BMI 27.6 ± 6.3 kg/m2). The index child had a mean age of 11 ± 6.2 years with 24% overweight/obese. The majority of parents (90.3%) reported interest in an online program, with preference expressed for a non-structured program to allow flexibility users to log-on and off as desired. Parents wanted a program that was easy to use, practical, engaging, endorsed by a reputable source, and able to provide individual tailoring and for their children to be directly involved. The current study supports the need for online delivery of a healthy lifestyle program that targets greater parental concerns of diet rather than child weight.
|Show 16 more journal articles|
Conference (5 outputs)
Chai LK, Collins C, May C, Burrows T, 'A randomised controlled pilot study of a tailored web-based nutrition intervention to support parents in child weight management', Hong Kong (2018)
Chai LK, May C, Collins C, Burrows T, 'Development of text messages with a focus on healthy eating that target both mothers and fathers.', Sydney, Australia (2018)
Chai LK, Burrows T, May C, Brain K, Wong See D, Collins C, 'Effectiveness of Family-based Childhood Obesity Interventions with Parental Involvement: An Umbrella Review.', Victoria, Canada (2017)
Chai LK, MacDonald-Wicks L, Hure AJ, Burrows T, Collins C, 'Disparities exist between the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and the dietary patterns of Australian pre-schoolers', ISBNPA 2014 Abstract Book, San Diego, USA (2014) [E3]
|Show 2 more conferences|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||1|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20161 grants / $4,000
Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Funding body||University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine|
May C, Burrows T, Collins C, Wong See D, Chai LK
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.
|Country||Count of Publications|
July 26, 2017
May 20, 2016
Miss Li Chai
Casual Research Assistant
PRC Physical Activity and Nutrition
School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine