Research projects

A longitudinal study of dietary risk factors for CVD (metabolic syndrome) and depression in adolescence

Principal researchers

Dr Wendy Oddy


University of Western Australia


$217,188 from beyondblue – Total funding $434,375

Co-funded with

Heart Foundation

Award type

Cardiovascular Disease and Depression Strategic Research Program 

Project completion year


Key findings

  • Dietary patterns have public health implications as they are a modifiable risk factor in adolescent mental health. The study showed that poorer behavioural scores were associated with increased intake of the Western dietary pattern in particular takeaway, red meat, confectionery and potato chips. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of depression. An inverse relationship was observed between intake of both saturated fat and of n-3 PUFA at age 14 and depression (BDI-Y) scores at 14 and 17 years, but these results were attenuated after adjustment for BMI. 
  • The Western dietary pattern is a risk for adiposity (obesity); adiposity is a risk for low grade inflammation via leptin and hsCRP; low grade inflammation is a risk for depressive symptoms.
  • The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) has been linked to weight gain, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. SSB consumption in the Raine cohort at 14 and 17 years was very high, with a greater intake between these years associated with increases in overweight and obesity risk. In addition, greater SSB intake was associated with larger waist circumference, increased serum triglycerides, and decreased HDL-cholesterol. It is concluded that greater SSB intakes during adolescence were associated with unfavourable changes in cardio-vascular risk factors. (Press release circulated and article in The Times UK 07/06/13)

 Publications resulting from the study

 1. Oddy WH, Robinson M, Ambrosini GA, O’Sullivan TA, deKlerk NH, Beilin LJ, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Stanley FJ. The association of dietary patterns and mental health in adolescence. Preventive Medicine. 2009; 49 (1): 39-44. IF: 3.002; TC: 27.

2. Ambrosini GL, de Klerk NH, O’Sullivan TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH. The reliability of a food frequency questionnaire for use among adolescents. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009; 63 (10): 1251–1259. IF: 2.795; TC: 17.

3. Oddy WH, Kendall GE, Li J, Jacoby P, Robinson M, de Klerk NH, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR, Landau LI, Stanley FJ. The long-term effects of breastfeeding on child and adolescent mental health: a pregnancy cohort study followed for 14 years. The Journal of Pediatrics 2010; 156(4):568-74. IF: 3.991; TC: 17.

4. Ambrosini, G, Huang RC, Mori T, O’Sullivan TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH. Dietary patterns and markers for MetS in an adolescent cohort. Nutr Metabol Cardio Dis 2010; 20 (4): 274-83. IF: 3.565; TC:9.

5. Chivers P, Hands B, Parker H, Bulsara M, Beilin LJ, Kendall GE, Oddy WH. Body Mass Index, adiposity rebound and early feeding in a longitudinal cohort (Raine Study). International Journal of Obesity. 2010; 34 (7):1169-1176. IF: 4.343; TC: 14.

6. O’Sullivan TA, Lyons-Wall P, Bremner AP, Ambrosini GL, Huang RC, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Blair E, Oddy WH. Dietary glycemic carbohydrate in relation to MetS in adolescents: comparison of different metabolic syndrome definitions. Diab Med 2010;27(7):770-778. IF: 2.871; TC: 6. 

7. O’Sullivan TA, Ambrosini G, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Oddy WH. Dietary intake and food sources of fatty acids in Australian adolescents Nutrition. 2011; 27: 153-159. IF: 2.604.TC: 18.

8. Howard AL, Robinson M, Smith GJ, Ambrosini GL, Piek JP, Oddy WH. ADHD is associated with a 'Western' dietary pattern in adolescents. Journal of Attention Disorders 2011;15:403-11. IF: 3.763; TC: 9.

9. Robinson M, Oddy WH, Kendall GE, Jacoby P, Hands B, Beilin L, Silburn SR, Zubrick SR. Lifestyle correlates of behaviour in early adolescence. J Pediatr Child Health; 2011; 47: 54-61; IF: 1.138. TC: 4.

10. Ambrosini GL, O'Sullivan T, de Klerk NH, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH. Relative validity of adolescent dietary patterns: comparison of a food frequency questionnaire and 3-day food record. British Journal of Nutrition; 2011; 105: 625–633. IF: 3.446. TC: 5

11. O’Sullivan TA, Ambrosini GL, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH. The Omega-3 Index in adolescents: dietary associations and relationships with cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. Lipids; 2011; 46: 59–67. IF: 2.382. TC: 2.

12. O’Sullivan TA, Bremner AP, Beilin LJ, Ambrosini GL, Mori TA, Huang RC, Oddy WH. Polyunsaturated fatty acid intake is inversely associated with blood pressure in adolescent boys. Journal of Human Hypertension 2011. Early on-line doi:10.1038/jhh.2011.7. TC: 1.

13. Oddy WH, Robinson M, Kendall GE, Li J, de Klerk NH, Zubrick SR,Stanley FJ. Breastfeeding and early child development. Acta Pediatrica 2011; 100 (7); 992-9. IF: 1.768; TC: 3.

14. Oddy WH, Hickling S, Smith MA, O’Sullivan TA, Robinson M, de Klerk NH, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Zubrick SR, Silburn SR. Dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids and risk of depressive symptoms in adolescents. Depression and Anxiety 2011; 28: 582-588. IF: 2.926. TC: 2.

15. Meyerkort CE, Oddy WH, O’Sullivan TA, Henderson J, Pennell CE. Early diet quality in a longitudinal study of Australian children: associations with nutrition and body mass index later in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 2012; 3 (1) 21-31.

16. Louise S, Warrington NM, McCaskie PA, Oddy WH, Zubrick SR, Hands B, Mori TA, Briollais L, Silburn S, Palmer LJ, Mattes E, Beilin LJ. Associations between aggressive behaviour scores and cardiovascular risk factors in childhood. Pediatric Obesity 2012 Aug;7(4):319-28. 

17. Huang RC, Mori, TA, Burrows S, Le Ha C, Oddy WH, Herbison C, Beilin LJ. Sexual Dimorphism in the relation between birth weight and cardiovascular metabolic risk factors in adolescents. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2012; 97(6):E1014-22. TC: 3.

18. Louise S, Warrington NM, McCaskie PA, Oddy WH, Zubrick SR, Hands B, Mori TA, Briollais L, Silburn S, Palmer LJ, Mattes E, Beilin LJ. Associations between anxious-depressed symptoms and CVD risk factors in a longitudinal childhood study. Preventive Medicine 2012 54(5), 345–350. 

19. Wooley S, O’Sullivan TA, Sherriff J, Oddy WH. Fructose intake and food sources in West Australian adolescents. Nutrition and Dietetics In Press (accepted April 1st 2012). 

20. Bobridge KS, Haines GL, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Oddy WH, Sherriff J, O'Sullivan TA. Dietary fructose in relation to blood pressure and serum uric acid in adolescent boys and girls. Journal of Human Hypertension 2012; Early on-line doi: 10.1038/jhh.2012.36. 

21. Herbison CE, Hickling S, Robinson M, O’Sullivan TA, Bremner A, Huang RC, Beilin LJ, Mori  TA. Oddy WH. Low intake of B vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behaviour. Preventive Medicine 2012: 55; (6); 634-38. 

22. Parker CE, Vivian WJ, Oddy WH, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, O’Sullivan TA. Changes in dairy food and nutrient intakes in Australian adolescents. Nutrients 2012, 4(12), 1794-1811; doi:10.3390/nu4121794

23. Allen KL, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Byrne SM, Hickling S, Oddy WH. Dietary intake in population-based adolescents: Support for a relationship between eating disorder symptoms, low fatty acid intake, and depressive symptoms Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (in Press) accepted 13th October 2012.

24. Robinson M, Zubrick SR, Pennell CE, Van Lieshout RJ, Jacoby P, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Stanley FJ, Newnham JP, Oddy WH. Pre-pregnancy maternal overweight and obesity increase the risk for affective disorders in offspring. Journal of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 2013; 4(1); 42-48.

25. Le-Ha C, Beilin LJ, Burrows S, Huang RC, Oddy WH, Hands B, Mori TA.  Gender Difference in the Relationship between Passive Smoking Exposure and HDL-Cholesterol Levels in Late Adolescence Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013; 98: 2013-2016.

26. Oddy WH, Herbison CE, Jacoby P, Ambrosini GL, O’Sullivan TA, Ayonrinde OT, Olynyk JK, Black LJ, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Hands BP, Adams LA. The Western dietary pattern is prospectively associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence. American Journal of Gastroenterology (Early on-line April 2nd 2013).

27. Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Huang RC, Mori TA, Beilin LJ, Jebb SA. Prospective associations between sugar-sweetened beverage intakes and cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.051383.Early on-line. 

28. Smith MA, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, Oddy WH. Essential fatty acids and mood: A systematic review of observational studies. American Journal of Food and Nutrition 2011; 1 (1): 14-27. TC: 4.

29. Oddy WH, McHugh MF. (2013) Book: Nutrition in Infancy. Chapter: The impact of infant feeding on later metabolic health. Editors: Ronald R. Watson, George Grimble, Victor preedy, Sherma Zibadi. Huamna Press, New York, pages 221-237..

30. Allen KL, Byrne SM, Oddy WH. (2012) Book: Psychology of Adolescence. Editors: Bariş L, Uzun Ö. Chapter: The prevalence and course of adolescent eating disorders: new findings from population-based research (pp. 101-124). New York: Nova Science Publishers. 

31. Oddy WH. Commentary (invited) Infant feeding and obesity risk in the child: a commentary. Breastfeeding Review 2012; 20 (2); 7-12. TC: 3.