Dr Megan Whatnall

Dr Megan Whatnall

Casual Academic

School of Health Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Whatnall is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (PRC-PAN) and the School of Health Sciences, and a Casual Academic in the Faculty of Health and Medicine. She was awarded her PhD (Nutrition and Dietetics) from the University of Newcastle in 2019, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics with Honours Class I from the University of Newcastle in 2015, and is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

Dr Whatnall's research focuses on the eating habits of young adults and university students, and developing and evaluating innovative and technology based interventions to improve eating habits, general well-being and reduce chronic disease risk.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosphy in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Behaviour change
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Young adulthood
  • e&mHealth

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
10/10/2019 -  Post-Doctoral Researcher Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle
Australia
1/3/2016 - 31/12/2019 Casual Research Assistant School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Australia
1/6/2017 - 30/4/2018 Casual Research Assistant School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Australia
1/7/2019 - 31/12/2019 Casual Research Assistant School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Australia

Awards

Professional

Year Award
2018 School of Health Sciences Staff Award - Health and Safety Excellence
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Research Award

Year Award
2019 Early Career Researcher Innovation Award
Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle
2019 Best Student Poster Award - Nutrition Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting
Nutrition Society of Australia
2017 2017 Best Publication in the Nutrition and Dietetics Theme
Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, University of Newcastle
2016 Student Travel Grant
Nutrition Society of Australia

Scholarship

Year Award
2016 Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
The University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
NUDI2200 Nutrition 2
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Tutor 30/7/2018 - 30/11/2019
NUDI2110 Community Nutrition Practice
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Tutor 30/7/2019 - 30/11/2019
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (18 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Whatnall MC, Hutchesson MJ, Patterson AJ, 'Predictors of Food Insecurity among Australian University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 17 (2020)
DOI 10.3390/ijerph17010060
Citations Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2020 Whatnall MC, Ng HS, Liau CY, Patterson AJ, Hutchesson MJ, 'What is the nutritional value of food and drinks sold in vending machines at an Australian university? A food environment audit study.', Nutr Diet, (2020)
DOI 10.1111/1747-0080.12615
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2020 Ashton LM, Sharkey T, Whatnall MC, Haslam RL, Bezzina A, Aguiar EJ, et al., 'Which behaviour change techniques within interventions to prevent weight gain and/or initiate weight loss improve adiposity outcomes in young adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials', OBESITY REVIEWS, 21 (2020)
DOI 10.1111/obr.13009
Citations Scopus - 1
Co-authors Aaron Bezzina, Clare Collins, Lee Ashton, Melinda Hutchesson
2020 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Hutchesson MJ, 'Effectiveness of Nutrition Interventions in Vending Machines to Encourage the Purchase and Consumption of Healthier Food and Drinks in the University Setting: A Systematic Review', NUTRIENTS, 12 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/nu12030876
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2020 Sharkey T, Whatnall MC, Hutchesson MJ, Haslam RL, Bezzina A, Collins CE, Ashton LM, 'Effectiveness of gender-targeted versus gender-neutral interventions aimed at improving dietary intake, physical activity and/or overweight/obesity in young adults (aged 17-35 years): a systematic review and meta-analysis', Nutrition journal, 19 78 (2020)

BACKGROUND: Young adulthood has become synonymous with the development of poor lifestyle behaviours associated with an increased risk of preventable chronic disease in later years... [more]

BACKGROUND: Young adulthood has become synonymous with the development of poor lifestyle behaviours associated with an increased risk of preventable chronic disease in later years. Interventions aiming to improve health behaviours may be more engaging and effective if they are targeted to males or females than interventions with a gender-neutral approach. This review will examine the outcome effectiveness of gender-targeted and gender-neutral interventions targeting nutrition, physical activity or overweight/obesity in young adults (17-35¿years). METHODS: Six electronic databases were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published up to December 2019 that evaluated nutrition, physical activity and/or overweight/obesity interventions in young adults (17-35¿years). An effective intervention was one where the change in one or more primary outcome was positive and statistically significantly different from baseline, compared with control, or if no control comparator, compared with another active intervention. Effectiveness of outcomes was compared between gender-targeted and gender-neutral studies. RESULTS: In total 21,582 manuscripts were identified and 107 RCTs were included; 30 gender-targeted studies (28%) and 77 gender-neutral (72%). Most gender-targeted studies were female targeted (n¿=¿22, 73%). Primary outcome/s were adiposity (n¿=¿36, 34%), nutrition (n¿=¿29, 27%), physical activity (n¿=¿28, 26%), or a combination of (n¿=¿14, 14%). A greater proportion of gender-targeted than gender-neutral studies were effective in improving nutrition (n¿=¿6, 100% and n¿=¿17, 74% of studies respectively) and physical activity outcomes (n¿=¿6, 86% and n¿=¿14, 67% respectively), where as a greater proportion of gender-neutral studies were effective in improving adiposity outcomes (n¿=¿13, 59% and n¿=¿5, 36% respectively). None of these differences were statistically significant. Meta-analyses for weight found no significant differences between gender-targeted and gender-neutral studies for weight loss or weight gain prevention studies. Meta-analysis for fruit and vegetable intake demonstrated a significantly greater increase in intervention participants in gender-targeted studies of +158¿g/day for >¿3¿months. CONCLUSIONS: Although differences in outcome effectiveness were identified between gender-targeted and gender-neutral studies, these were not significantly different. This is likely due to an insufficient number of studies to detect a difference. The meta-analysis for fruit and vegetable intake findings should be interpreted with caution due to including only two gender-targeted studies. The findings collectively are suggestive of a potential difference requiring further investigation. To truly determine the effectiveness of gender-targeted interventions, well-designed RCTs comparing gender-targeted interventions with gender-neutral and control are needed. REGISTRATION: This systematic review is a secondary analysis of studies included in a systematic review examining the effectiveness of interventions targeting nutrition, physical activity, or overweight/obesity in young adults, for which a predefined protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42017075795).

DOI 10.1186/s12937-020-00594-0
Co-authors Clare Collins, Lee Ashton, Aaron Bezzina
2019 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Siew YY, Kay-Lambkin F, Hutchesson M, 'Are psychological distress and resilience associated with dietary intake among Australian university students?', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/ijerph16214099
Co-authors Frances Kaylambkin, Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2019 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Brookman S, Convery P, Swan C, Pease S, Hutchesson MJ, 'Lifestyle behaviors and related health risk factors in a sample of Australian university students', JOURNAL OF AMERICAN COLLEGE HEALTH, (2019)
DOI 10.1080/07448481.2019.1611580
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2019 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Burrows TL, Hutchesson MJ, 'Higher diet quality in university students is associated with higher academic achievement: a cross-sectional study', Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 32 321-328 (2019) [C1]

© 2019 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Background: Unhealthy diets are typical of university students and the effects may be wider reaching than health. The present study ai... [more]

© 2019 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Background: Unhealthy diets are typical of university students and the effects may be wider reaching than health. The present study aimed to describe the association between dietary intake and academic achievement in a sample of Australian university students. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of data from an online survey of 278 students from the University of Newcastle (UON), Australia [mean (SD) age 26.9¿(10.5)¿years; 70.9% female] was conducted. Dietary intake, in terms of diet quality score [Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS)], including individual sub-scales, and percentage energy per day from energy-dense nutrient poor (EDNP) foods, including individual sub-groups, was assessed using the validated Australian Eating Survey Food Frequency Questionnaire, and academic achievement was assessed as self-reported grade point average (GPA). The association between GPA and dietary intake was explored using linear regression, with adjustment for socio-demographic and student characteristics. Results: Higher GPA was associated with higher diet quality (ARFS) (ß¿=¿0.02, P¿=¿0.011), higher sub-scale scores for vegetables (ß¿=¿0.03, P¿=¿0.026) and fruit (ß¿=¿0.05, P¿=¿0.029) and with lower percentage energy per day from EDNP foods overall (ß¿=¿-0.01, P¿=¿0.047) and also from sweetened drinks (ß¿=¿-0.06, P¿<¿0.001). Conclusions: The results of the present study demonstrate small associations between a healthier dietary intake and higher academic achievement, as well as vice versa. Given that the associations were small, they may not be particularly meaningful. However, this evidence could be used as a motivator for efforts aiming to improve dietary intake among university students.

DOI 10.1111/jhn.12632
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Tracy Burrows, Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2019 Tan M, Brown LJ, Mathews KI, Whatnall MC, Hutchesson MJ, MacDonald-Wicks LK, Patterson AJ, 'Rural versus urban women: An examination of anthropometry and body composition', Australian Journal of Rural Health, 27 70-77 (2019) [C1]

© 2019 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd. Objective: To describe and compare body composition and fat distribution of Australian women 18¿44 years from an urban and rural locati... [more]

© 2019 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd. Objective: To describe and compare body composition and fat distribution of Australian women 18¿44 years from an urban and rural location. Design: Cross-sectional survey and collection of anthropometric and body composition measurements. Setting: Newcastle and Tamworth in New South Wales. Participants: Convenience sample of women recruited through media and community. Main outcome measures: Weight, height, waist and hip girths, visceral fat area, body fat (kg and %) and skeletal muscle mass. Results: Of the total sample (n = 254), 53% resided in an urban area and the mean age was 28.0 (7.6) years. The mean age of rural women was significantly higher than for urban women. The majority of women (66.5%) had a Body Mass Index within the healthy range (18.5¿24.9 kg m -2 ) and there was no significant difference in mean Body Mass Index between rural and urban women. Measures of central fat distribution, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were significantly higher in rural residents. Visceral fat area was significantly higher among rural women. After adjustment for age, differences in waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and visceral fat area were no longer statistically significant. Conclusion: While we did not find statistically significant differences in body composition among urban and rural women, these results highlight the dramatic effect of age on measures of central adiposity. Population surveillance needs to incorporate measures of excess central adiposity, particularly visceral fat area, to better investigate changes in body composition among women in their 20s and 30s.

DOI 10.1111/ajr.12466
Co-authors Leanne Brown, Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson, Lesley Wicks
2019 Ashton LM, Sharkey T, Whatnall MC, Williams RL, Bezzina A, Aguiar EJ, et al., 'Effectiveness of Interventions and Behaviour Change Techniques for Improving Dietary Intake in Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of RCTs', NUTRIENTS, 11 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/nu11040825
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Clare Collins, Aaron Bezzina, Lee Ashton
2019 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Chiu S, Oldmeadow C, Hutchesson MJ, 'Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the Eating Advice to Students (EATS) Brief Web-Based Nutrition Intervention for Young Adult University Students: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial', NUTRIENTS, 11 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/nu11040905
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Christopher Oldmeadow, Melinda Hutchesson
2019 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Chiu S, Oldmeadow C, Hutchesson MJ, 'Determinants of eating behaviours in Australian university students: A cross-sectional analysis', NUTRITION & DIETETICS, 77 331-343 (2019)
DOI 10.1111/1747-0080.12584
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Christopher Oldmeadow, Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2019 Haslam R, Taylor RM, Whatnall M, Collins CE, 'Dietary intake in health and disease, challenges in measuring and reporting diet-disease relationships', NUTRITION & DIETETICS, 76 501-506 (2019)
DOI 10.1111/1747-0080.12595
Co-authors Clare Collins, Rachael Taylor
2019 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Hutchesson M, 'A Brief Web-Based Nutrition Intervention for Young Adult University Students: Development and Evaluation Protocol Using the PRECEDE-PROCEED Model', JMIR RESEARCH PROTOCOLS, 8 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.2196/11992
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2018 Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Ashton LM, Hutchesson MJ, 'Effectiveness of brief nutrition interventions on dietary behaviours in adults: A systematic review', Appetite, 120 335-347 (2018) [C1]

© 2017 Brief interventions are effective in improving health behaviours including alcohol intake, however the effectiveness of brief interventions targeting nutrition outcomes has... [more]

© 2017 Brief interventions are effective in improving health behaviours including alcohol intake, however the effectiveness of brief interventions targeting nutrition outcomes has not been determined. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of brief nutrition interventions in adults. Seven databases were searched for RCT/pseudo RCT studies published in English to April 2016, and evaluating brief interventions (i.e. single point of contact) designed to promote change in eating behaviours in healthy adults (=18 years). Of 4849 articles identified, 45 studies met inclusion criteria. Most studies targeted fruit and/or vegetable intake (n = 21) or fat intake (n = 10), and few targeted diet quality (n = 2). Median follow-up was 3.5 months, with few studies (n = 4) measuring longer-term outcomes (=12 months). Studies aimed to determine whether a brief intervention was more effective than another brief intervention (n = 30), and/or more effective than no intervention (n = 20), with 17 and 11 studies, respectively, reporting findings to that effect. Interventions providing education plus tailored or instructional components (e.g. feedback) were more effective than education alone or non-tailored advice. This review suggests that brief interventions, which are tailored and instructional, can improve short-term dietary behaviours, however evidence for longer-term behaviour change maintenance is limited.

DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2017.09.017
Citations Scopus - 15Web of Science - 16
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Lee Ashton, Amanda Patterson
2018 Hutchesson M, Callister R, Morgan P, Pranata I, Clarke E, Skinner G, et al., 'A Targeted and Tailored eHealth Weight Loss Program for Young Women: The Be Positive Be Healthe Randomized Controlled Trial', Healthcare, 6 1-19 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/healthcare6020039
Co-authors Erin Clarke Uon, Robin Callister, Lee Ashton, Ilung Pranata, Melinda Hutchesson, Geoff Skinner, Clare Collins, Philip Morgan, Christopher Oldmeadow
2017 Burrows TL, Whatnall MC, Patterson AJ, Hutchesson MJ, 'Associations between Dietary Intake and Academic Achievement in College Students: A Systematic Review.', Healthcare, 5 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/healthcare5040060
Citations Web of Science - 11
Co-authors Tracy Burrows, Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2016 Whatnall MC, Collins CE, Callister R, Hutchesson MJ, 'Associations between Unhealthy Diet and Lifestyle Behaviours and Increased Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Young Overweight and Obese Women.', Healthcare (Basel), 4 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/healthcare4030057
Citations Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Clare Collins, Robin Callister
Show 15 more journal articles

Conference (15 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Ashton L, Sharkey T, Whatnall M, Haslam R, Bezzina A, Auguiar E, et al., 'Which Behaviour-Change Techniques within Weight-Management Interventions Improve Adiposity Outcomes in Young Adults? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)', Which Behaviour-Change Techniques within Weight-Management Interventions Improve Adiposity Outcomes in Young Adults? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs), Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2020)
DOI 10.3390/proceedings2020043002
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Aaron Bezzina, Clare Collins
2019 Patterson A, Whatnall M, Siew YY, Kay-Lambkin F, Hutchesson M, 'Are psychological distress and resilience associated with dietary intake among Australian university students?', Gold Coast, QLD, Australia (2019)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson, Frances Kaylambkin
2019 Patterson A, Whatnall M, Hutchesson M, 'Predictors of food insecurity among Australian university students: a cross-sectional study', Gold Coast, QLD, Australia (2019)
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
2019 Sharkey T, Hutchesson M, Whatnall M, Haslam R, Bezzina A, Aguiar E, et al., 'Effectiveness of behaviour change techniques used in nutrition interventions in young adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials', Gold Coast, Australia (2019)
DOI 10.1111/1747-0080.12567
Co-authors Aaron Bezzina, Clare Collins, Melinda Hutchesson, Lee Ashton
2019 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Chiu S, Oldmeadow C, Hutchesson M, 'Targeting young adult university students through a brief online nutrition intervention: Results of the EATS pilot RCT', Prague, Czech Republic (2019)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson, Christopher Oldmeadow
2019 Whatnall M, Siew YY, Patterson A, Kay-Lambkin F, Hutchesson M, 'Are psychological distress and resilience associated with eating behaviours among Australian university students?', Prague, Czech Republic (2019)
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Frances Kaylambkin, Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2018 Hutchesson M, Whatnall M, Patterson A, 'University students' satisfaction with the cost and availability of food on campus', Nutrition & Dietetics, Sydney, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2018 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Hutchesson M, 'Determinants of eating behaviours in Australian university students', Nutrition & Dietetics, Sydney, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2018 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Hutchesson M, 'Eating Advice To Students (EATS): Development and process evaluation results of a brief online nutrition intervention for young adult university students', ISBNPA 2018 Abstract Book, Hong Kong (2018)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2018 Aguiar E, Ashton L, Collins C, Whatnall M, Pezdirc K, Williams R, Hutchesson M, 'What are the characteristics of a successful intervention in young adults? - Results from a systematic review', ISBNPA 2018 Abstract Book, Hong Kong (2018)
Co-authors Lee Ashton, Melinda Hutchesson, Clare Collins, Kristine Pezdirc
2018 Ashton L, Whatnall M, Morgan P, Rollo M, Collins C, Hutchesson M, 'Process evaluation of two targeted healthy lifestyle programs for either young men (The HEYMAN study) or young women (Be Positive Be Healthe) what works and what doesn t?', ISBNPA 2018 Abstract Book, Hong Kong (2018)
Co-authors Megan Rollo, Philip Morgan, Clare Collins, Melinda Hutchesson, Lee Ashton
2017 Tan L, Patterson A, Whatnall M, Brookman S, Convery P, Swan C, et al., 'Diet and other lifestyle risk factors among Australian university students', Nutrition and Dietetics, Hobart, Tasmania (2017)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2017 Patterson A, Whatnall M, Hutchesson M, 'Eating behaviours of Australian university students in relation to socio-demographic, study type and health-related characteristics', ISBNPA 2017 Abstract Book, Victoria, Canada (2017)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2016 Whatnall M, Patterson A, Hutchesson M, 'A systematic review of brief nutrition interventions in adults', Melbourne (2016)
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson
2016 Whatnall M, Collins CE, Callister R, Hutchesson MJ, 'Lifestyle behaviours and cardiovascular disease risk in young overweight and obese women: A cross-sectional analysis', http://www.alswh.org.au/scientificmeeting2016/program, Newcastle, Australia (2016) [E3]
Co-authors Clare Collins, Melinda Hutchesson, Robin Callister
Show 12 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 2
Total funding $8,690

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20192 grants / $8,690

Faculty of Health and Medicine 2019 Strategic Research Pilot Grant$7,690

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Scheme Faculty of Health and Medicine 2019 Strategic Research Pilot Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Early Career Researcher Travel Grant$1,000

Funding body: Australian Nutrition Trust Fund

Funding body Australian Nutrition Trust Fund
Scheme Australian Nutrition Trust Fund 2019 Grant Round
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N
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Dr Megan Whatnall

Positions

Casual Academic
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Casual Academic
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Casual Research Assistant
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Research Assistant
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Casual Research Assistant
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Casual Research Assistant
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email megan.whatnall@newcastle.edu.au
Link Twitter

Office

Building ATC Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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