Miss Megan Whatnall

Miss Megan Whatnall

Research student

Career Summary

Biography

Megan is a PhD candidate (Nutrition & Dietetics) in the School of Health Sciences, and Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (PRC-PAN). Megan was awarded her Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics with Honours Class I from the University of Newcastle in 2015, and is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). Her PhD research focuses on the eating behaviours of young adult university students, and developing and evaluating an innovative and technology based nutrition intervention to improve eating behaviours. Megan also works as a Research Assistant and a Casual Academic in the Faculty of Health and Medicine.

Keywords

  • Behaviour Change
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Young Adult's Health
  • eHealth

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

Membership

Dates Title Organisation / Department
17/11/2017 -  Committee Member - Nutrition Society of Australia Newcastle Branch Nutrition Society Australia
Australia
1/03/2016 -  Membership - Nutrition Society of Australia Nutrition Society of Australia
Australia
1/02/2016 -  Membership - Dietitians Association of Australia Dietitians Association of Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/06/2017 - 30/04/2018 Casual Research Assistant Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
School of Medicine and Public Health
Australia
1/04/2016 - 30/09/2016 Go4Fun Program Leader - Nutrition Central Coast Local Health District, NSW Health
Australia
1/03/2016 -  Casual Research Assistant Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
Australia

Awards

Research Award

Year Award
2018 School of Health Sciences Staff Award. Health and Safety Excellence. Awarded to the Student Healthy Lifestyle Group.
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
2017 2017 Best Publication in the Nutrition and Dietetics Theme (Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition)
The University of Newcastle
2016 Student Travel Grant
Nutrition Society of Australia

Scholarship

Year Award
2016 University of Newcastle Research Scholarship
The University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
NUDI2200 Nutrition 2
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
Tutor 30/07/2018 - 30/11/2018
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Publications

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


Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
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
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Tracy Burrows, 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 Lesley Wicks, Leanne Brown, Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
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)

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Poor eating habits are common during young adulthood and influence chronic disease morbidity. This systematic review eval... [more]

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Poor eating habits are common during young adulthood and influence chronic disease morbidity. This systematic review evaluates the effectiveness of interventions aiming to improve dietary intake among young adults and, identifies which behaviour change techniques (BCTs) are most effective. Six electronic databases were searched for RCTs published until October 2018, and evaluating behavioural interventions assessing change in dietary intake in young adults (17-35 years). Of the 18,779 articles identified, 54 were included. Forty studies focused on fruit and/or vegetable intake, of which 63% showed a significant between-group difference in favour of the intervention group. Meta-analysis (n = 17) demonstrated a significant increase in fruit and vegetable intake of +68.6 g/day after three months of intervention and +65.8 g/day for interventions >3 months when compared to control. A meta-analysis (n = 5) on total energy intake found no significant differences between groups. The BCTs with the highest effectiveness ratio were habit formation (100%), salience of consequences (83%) and adding objects to the environment (70%). The review highlights the potential of behavioural interventions to improve young adults¿ fruit and vegetable intake but was less convincing for other dietary outcomes. Due to the lack of studies including each BCT, the BCTs imperative to success could not be identified.

DOI 10.3390/nu11040825
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Clare Collins, Lee Ashton, Aaron Bezzina
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
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Christopher Oldmeadow, 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)

© 2019, © 2019 Taylor &amp; Francis Group, LLC. Objective: To describe lifestyle behaviors (fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol intake, physical activity, sitting time, smoking,... [more]

© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Objective: To describe lifestyle behaviors (fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol intake, physical activity, sitting time, smoking, drug use, sleep, sexual health) and health risk factors (body mass index, food insecurity, mental health) in a sample of Australian university students. Participants: 3,077 students from the University of Newcastle (UON), Australia (mean age 27.1 ± 9.8 years, 69.4% female) were surveyed in September¿October 2017. Methods: Cross-sectional self-report survey, the UON Student Healthy Lifestyle Survey 2017. Results: Participants with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors included; 89.5% not meeting vegetable recommendations, 50.3% exceeding lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol intake, and 38.1% insufficiently physically active. Rates of health risk factors included; 39.6% overweight/obese, 37.6% high or very high risk of psychological distress, and 22.0% food insecure. Conclusions: Rates of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and related health risk factors were high within the study population, highlighting the importance of ongoing monitoring and prioritization of effective strategies to improve university student health.

DOI 10.1080/07448481.2019.1611580
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
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 - 9Web of Science - 9
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 Philip Morgan, Lee Ashton, Clare Collins, Geoff Skinner, Ilung Pranata, Christopher Oldmeadow, Erin Clarke Uon, Robin Callister, Melinda Hutchesson
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 - 3
Co-authors Amanda Patterson, Melinda Hutchesson, Tracy Burrows
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
Co-authors Clare Collins, Robin Callister, Melinda Hutchesson
Show 7 more journal articles

Conference (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
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)
Co-authors Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson, Frances Kaylambkin
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 Melinda Hutchesson, Christopher Oldmeadow, Amanda Patterson
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 Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
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 Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
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 Clare Collins, Melinda Hutchesson, Lee Ashton
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 Clare Collins, Philip Morgan, Megan Rollo, Lee Ashton, Melinda Hutchesson
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 Melinda Hutchesson, Amanda Patterson
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 8 more conferences
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Miss Megan Whatnall

Contact Details

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