#3 Why don’t we eat enough fruit and vegetables?

Thursday 4 September 2014 5.00 - 6.30pm

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Level 6, Charles Perkins Centre


Australians are eating too few fruits and vegetables, and what can be done about this?

In association with Sydney Ideas

This seminar will address the question of why Australians are eating too few fruits and vegetables. National and State governments and NGOs have invested in health promotion programs to increase fruit and vegetable  intake over the past couple of decades. However, the most recent national survey shows about half of the Australian population eats their 2 serves of fruit daily but vegetable consumption of 5 serves per day is met by less than 10%. Younger adults eat least fruit and vegetables. Clearly, some new approaches are needed. The two speakers in this seminar are well placed to address this problem. Associate Professor Robyn McConchie, from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, and Associate Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, have been working on inter-disciplinary solutions to the problem of low levels of national fruit and vegetable consumption, with particular reference to the application of newer communication technologies including  Smartphone apps. In this seminar, the speakers will present the latest developments in this cutting edge area of research.

Chair: Dr Brian Jones, Faculty of Agriculture

Associate Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli, Faculty of Science
Associate Professor Robyn McConchie, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

Brian Jones After completing a degree in horticulture, Brian moved to France with his wife and four kids to do a PhD in plant molecular genetics. Combining his interests in basic science and horticulture, Brian has spent much of his career in Europe, working in fundamental biology and molecular breeding. Now back in Australia at the University of Sydney, Brian continues to work on improving yield capacity in crop species through the application of molecular genetics, but, having recognized that it makes little sense to incrementally improve yield capacity whilst wasting up to 40% of the food that we currently produce, Brian is now also investigating the contribution that urban food production and food waste minimization can have on the sustainability of the food system.

Margaret Allman-Farinelli’s research interests include all aspects of dietetics from food and nutritional science through prevention of lifestyle associated chronic disease through evidence-based dietetic management of chronic disease to nutritional assessment and intervention in acute hospital care. She is interested in development of qualitative and quantitative tools and methods used for dietetic practice and research and innovative delivery methods for health promotion and diet counselling. Her most recent research work is in public health addressing the rising rates of obesity among young adults and it sequelae for chronic disease rates and economic impact and health promotion to limit further increases. She has experience in secondary statistical analyses of National Health Survey data sets and is interested in measurement of energy balances and relative contributions of different physical activities at a population level as well as nutrient intakes.

Robyn McConchie has a BSc (Plant Science) from Wye College, University of London, an MA (Education and Work) from Macquarie University and PhD from Louisiana State University (USA). She has been teaching and researching in the area of postharvest quality of perishable and grain crops for the past 15 years at the University of Sydney and is currently of Head of the Department of Plant and Food Science. Robyn has also worked closely with industry to initiate a Fresh Produce Safety Centre based at the University of Sydney. The new Centre will drive food safety research that will provide solutions to benefit and service the fresh food produce industry.  Robyn has served as Past President and Secretary of Australian Society for Horticultural Science (AuSHS), and is a member of the American (ASHS) and International Societies for Horticultural Science (ISHS), WildFlowers Australia and is Chair of the Protea Working Group (ISHS). She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

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