Diet Quality and Depression in Children, Adolescents and Adults – A/Prof Felice Jacka

Posted on: June 29, 2016
Last Updated: November 7, 2019

Associate Professor Felice Jacka has an ongoing research program that focuses on lifestyle as a risk factor for common mental health disorders, depression, and anxiety. It comprises a broad range of epidemiological and population health investigations with extensive partnerships and collaborations in Australia and elsewhere, involving acknowledged experts in the field of psychiatry and population health. A/Prof Jacka’s primary goal is to develop a coherent public health message and effective best practice strategies for the universal primary prevention of common mental disorders.

Key Messages:

The sooner we break down the silos between psychiatry and the rest of medicine the better off we will be.


We know that the strongest predictors of systemic inflammation and the associated oxidative stress, apart from severe medical illnesses, are lifestyle behaviours.


All of the research in primary care, which is of course where most of the patients and people with depression manifest first, shows that the strongest predictor of major depression is poor physical health. All of these systems are intimately linked and addressing physical health will have benefits.


We have a term now called globesity – changes to the food system that developed primarily in the west, but we are now seeing rapid increases of obesity all over the globe.


A generation ago type II diabetes was almost unheard of in India; whereas, now a child born in India will have a 1 in 2 chance of developing it.


We know that the way we eat habitually is a very strong predictor of CVD, stroke, obesity, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers and now dementia.


We don’t just eat individual nutrients – we eat whole diets that are enormously complex in their composition and the way each of those components interact… we need to look at whole dietary patterns.

Learn more

  1. Impact of Nutritional Deficiencies in the Pre and Post Natal Period on Child Brain Development – Prof Jacka
  2. The Impact of Diet Quality on Mental Health – Prof Felice Jacka