Understanding children’s eating patterns

Eating patterns refers to the ways in which foods are consumed together at discrete eating occasions (e.g., meals and snacks). Eating patterns include the following measures of eating occasions: patterning (frequency, size, timing, spacing and, regularity of eating occasions); format (energy density, food types, food combinations at eating occasions), and context (eating location, presence of others, or activities occurring while eating). This project will involve secondary analysis of nutrition datasets which may include the Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS), the U.S. National Nutrition and Health Examination Surveys (NHANES), the IPAN INFANT study and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.


Geelong Waurn Ponds or Burwood

The specific research questions and research issues of interest for this project may include:

  • Examining the eating patterns in relation to food and nutrient intakes and diet quality in children
  • Consumption of unhealthy and healthy foods at meals and snacks in relation to compliance with dietary guidelines
  • Energy density of meals and snacks in children
  • Factors associated with unhealthy and unhealthy food intakes at meals and snacks in children
  • Associations between eating patterns and health outcomes such as BMI

This project will inform nutrition promotion initiatives for children, by better understanding existing eating patterns to identify opportunities for greatest improvement.


Applicants will have previous studies in a relevant discipline, such as nutrition, dietetics, epidemiology and public health. Interested students must be eligible for enrolment in a PhD program at Deakin University and eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent. Applicants must meet Deakin’s PhD entry requirements. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding

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