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Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is supporting a new “M-Health” project to improve the wellbeing and health of pre-menopausal women.
M-Health is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices like mobile phones for health services and information, and also to impact on emotional states.
Associate Professor Lynn Riddell from Deakin’s highly regarded Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN) has secured funding from MLA to develop a mobile phone app based educational support package aimed at improving intakes of bioavailable iron and zinc in premenopausal women.
Bioavailability is the degree the body can use the nutrients present within food. The way the body can absorb and use iron and zinc is known to be influenced by the type of iron in the food as well as the presence of enhancers or inhibitors in the meal in the diet the iron in meat is extremely well absorbed by the body and phytate is a well-established inhibitor of zinc absorption.
Associate Professor Riddell will conduct a 16 week randomised- controlled trial to determine whether improvements in iron and zinc intakes will improve iron and zinc status as well as cognition, mood (including depression and anxiety) and fatigue in women with non-anaemic iron deficiency.
“The goal is to assess if the app is a suitable dietary intervention tool,” she said.
“Engaging individuals in dietary-related behaviour change presents many challenges, however the rapid rise in
M-Health through the use of mobile phone applications (apps) makes this a timely study.
“It provides the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
As well as being a member of CPAN Associate Professor Riddell is an associate professor in the area of Nutrition in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences.
Her research focuses on long term dietary strategies for the prevention and management of diet related disease.
Deakin Research Commercial’s Director, Gary Heyden, welcomed the new funding agreement.
“This new project is a further sign of the way that Deakin University’s researchers can work on projects that have a wide range of benefits to the community,” he said.
“Depending on the outcomes, there could be positive flow-on effects for pre-menopausal women.”
The MLA also welcomed the opportunity to work with some of Deakin’s leading experts in health and nutrition.
“Supporting research by world recognised researchers like Professor Riddell and her team at Deakin help to increase our understanding of the role red meat can play in a healthy diet," said Veronique Droulez, Senior Nutrition Manager.