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Understanding the role of eating patterns in cardiovascular health
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Understanding the role of eating patterns in cardiovascular health

Dr Rebecca Leech, Institution: Deakin University

2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2021


This research examines the role of eating patterns in relation to overall diet quality and cardiovascular health. This research is important because so few Australian adults meet national recommendations for intakes of five nutritious food group foods, and a healthy diet is essential for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Research has shown that different eating patterns, such as the timing and frequency of meals and snacks, influence health. However, we know little about eating pattern “format”, or the types and combinations of foods, eaten at meals and snacks. Our decisions to eat certain foods these eating occasions are complex and may be influenced by situational factors such as locations for eating, the presence of others and our mood states. Understanding the correlates of food choices at eating occasions is imperative to developing dietary advice that tailors to everyday eating situations.

This research utilises high quality and nationally-representative dietary and health data to examine how the timing and format of meals and snacks relate to the healthfulness of the whole diet and cardiovascular health in adults. Using dietary data collected in real-time, this research applies novel and innovative analytic methods to understand the potential drivers of food choices at meals and snacks. The results will inform pathways for interventions that will change eating pattern behaviours in order to improve national diet quality and cardiovascular health outcomes.

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