Generational Changes in Diet and Role of Supplements – Prof Felice Jacka

Posted on: April 21, 2020
Last Updated: September 26, 2020

Professor Jacka is a psychiatric epidemiologist, Director of the Food and Mood Centre and founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR). She is an NHMRC Career Development Fellow at Deakin University in Australia, within the IMPACT SRC at the School of Medicine. She also holds Honorary Principal Research Fellow appointments at the Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Centre; The University of Melbourne; and the Black Dog Institute in NSW.  

Author Quotes 

These changes have happened over a generation (or a generation and a half) and are a function of the food system or changes to the food system.

Dietary supplements as a prophylaxis is not going to work. You’ve got to address the dietary behaviours.

Summary and Slides 

In this video excerpt, Professor Jacka presents an overview of generational changes in nutrient intakes of children, nutritional deficiencies in Australia, the Mediterranean diet and risk for depression, and the role of supplements.  

Beginning with the results from a study of approximately 300 toddlers in South Australia she reveals how >95% were consuming more saturated fat than is recommended and that over 30% were already overweight or obese. 

Discussing several studies on food intake and diet quality she introduces research findings from studies that reveal how the Mediterranean diet is protective against the risk for depression. 

Moving on to discuss the use of supplements, she talks about sedentary behaviour and the need for patients to address physical health. Highlighting the problems associated with consuming nutrient supplements that may be detrimental to a patient’s health, she concludes with a recommendation for a better understanding of the relationship between the effects of illness and any need for supplementation. 

Take-Home Points 

  • Children from poorer backgrounds are not only more overweight but can also be 1-2 cm shorter. 
  • The dietary behaviour of the population needs to change to address clinical and psychiatric health. 
  • Mediterranean style diets are protective against depression. 


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
  3. Diet Quality and Depression in Children, Adolescents and Adults – A/Prof Felice Jacka
  4. Role of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) – Prof Felice Jacka
  5. Can Diet Patterns be Predictive of Mental Health Disorders? – Prof Felice Jacka
  6. Diet as a Prevention Strategy in Mental Health – Prof Felice Jacka


  1. Zhou SJ, Gibson RA, Gibson RS, Makrides M. Nutrient intakes and status of preschool children in Adelaide, South Australia. Med J Aust. 2012;196(11):696-700.
  2. O’Dea JA. Differences in overweight and obesity among Australian schoolchildren of low and middle/high socioeconomic status. Med J Aust. 2003;179(1):63. 
  3. Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, et al. A prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescents. PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24805. Epub 2011 Sep 21.