Dr Melanie Nichols

STAFF PROFILE

Position

Senior Research Fellow

Faculty

Faculty of Health

Department

School of Health & Soc. Dev.

Campus

Geelong Waterfront Campus

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2010
Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics, Deakin University, 2005
Bachelor of Applied Science (Health Sciences), Deakin University, 2005

Biography

Dr Melanie Nichols is a Senior Research Fellow in GLOBE - the Global Obesity Centre, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University.
Melanie's research focuses on the prevention and epidemiology of obesity, heart disease and other non-communicable diseases, community-based approaches to promoting health and evaluation of large scale interventions and natural experiments. Key interests include early childhood prevention, community-based and complex systems interventions, promoting equity through prevention interventions, and improving use of existing data and systems to generate high quality evidence.
Melanie has worked extensively in evaluation of large scale community-based obesity prevention, including the successful Sentinel Site for Obesity Prevention programs in the Barwon South-Western region of Victoria, which generated world-leading evidence into the effectiveness of whole of community-approaches to obesity prevention. Melanie also worked for 3 years providing support in evaluation and evidence to community-based initiatives across Australia through the CO-OPS Collaboration of Obesity Prevention Sites.
Between 2011 and 2012 Melanie worked in the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford, UK, leading the European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012 project as part of the EuroHeart II project, funded by the European Commission. The project examined Europe-wide cardiovascular disease mortality, morbidity, treatment and risk factors, with special attention to inequalities and recent trends, and culminated in a significant report which was launched by the European Heart Network on World Heart Day 2012.
Melanie completed her PhD in Public Health at Deakin University in 2009. Her PhD thesis investigated issues around prevention of obesity in early childhood, including recent trends in prevalence, behaviours and environments to address the question of whether early childhood should be a priority period for obesity prevention activities. Prior to beginning her research career, Melanie qualified as a dietitian, and worked in the field of gastroenterological disorders. Melanie holds tertiary qualifications in nutrition and dietetics and health promotion.

Read more on Melanie's profile

Biography summary

Dr Melanie Nichols is a Senior Research Fellow in GLOBE - the Global Obesity Centre, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University.
Melanie's research focuses on the prevention and epidemiology of obesity, heart disease and other non-communicable diseases, community-based approaches to promoting health and evaluation of large scale interventions and natural experiments. Key interests include early childhood prevention, community-based and complex systems interventions, promoting equity through prevention interventions, and improving use of existing data and systems to generate high quality evidence.

Research interests

Evaluation of large scale and 'natural' experiments in public health

Epidemiological modelling of non-communicable diseases

Community-based approaches to obesity prevention

Improved use of routine datasets for monitoring population health

Units taught

HSH744 - Epidemiology 1 (Masters of Public Health core unit)

Publications

Filter by

2019

Epidemiology report: trends in sex-specific cerebrovascular disease mortality in Europe based on WHO mortality data

Rushabh Shah, Elizabeth Wilkins, Melanie Nichols, Paul Kelly, Farah El-Sadi, F Wright, Nick Townsend

(2019), Vol. 40, pp. 755-764, European heart journal, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

Variation in the physical activity environment according to area-level socio-economic position-a systematic review

Jane Jacobs, Laura Alston, Cindy Needham, Kathryn Backholer, Claudia Strugnell, Steven Allender, Melanie Nichols

(2019), Vol. 20, pp. 686-700, Obesity reviews, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal

Policy makers' perceptions of the high burden of heart disease in rural Australia: implications for the implementation of evidence-based rural health policy

Laura Alston, Melanie Nichols, Steven Allender

(2019), Vol. 14, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal

Activating a community: an agent-based model of Romp & Chomp, a whole-of-community childhood obesity intervention

M Kasman, R Hammond, B Heuberger, A Mack-Crane, R Purcell, C Economos, B Swinburn, S Allender, M Nichols

(2019), Vol. 27, pp. 1494-1502, Obesity, London, Eng., C1

journal

A comparison of the modelled impacts on CVD mortality if attainment of public health recommendations was achieved in metropolitan and rural Australia

L Alston, J Jacobs, S Allender, M Nichols

(2019), pp. 1-9, Public health nutrition, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal

Associations between school food environments, body mass index and dietary intakes among regional school students in Victoria, Australia: a cross-sectional study

L Alston, N Crooks, C Strugnell, L Orellana, S Allender, C Rennie, M Nichols

(2019), Vol. 16, pp. 1-13, International journal of environmental research and public health, Basel, Switzerland, C1

journal
2018

Obesity in Australia

O Huse, J Hettiarachchi, E Gearon, M Nichols, S Allender, A Peeters

(2018), Vol. 12, pp. 29-39, Obesity research & clinical practice, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal

Understanding a successful obesity prevention initiative in children under 5 from a systems perspective

Brynle Owen, Andrew Brown, Jill Kuhlberg, Lynne Millar, Melanie Nichols, Christina Economos, Steven Allender

(2018), Vol. 13, pp. 1-10, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal

Networks for prevention in 19 communities at the start of a large-scale community-based obesity prevention initiative

J Marks, A Sanigorski, B Owen, J McGlashan, L Millar, M Nichols, C Strugnell, S Allender

(2018), Vol. 8, pp. 575-584, Translational behavioral medicine, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

Social network analysis of stakeholder networks from two community-based obesity prevention interventions

Jaimie McGlashan, Melanie Nichols, Ariella Korn, Lynne Millar, Jennifer Marks, Andrew Sanigorski, Mark Pachucki, Boyd Swinburn, Steven Allender, Christina Economos

(2018), Vol. 13, pp. e0196211-e0196211, PLoS One, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal

Regional variation in cardiovascular mortality in Australia 2009-2012: the impact of remoteness and socioeconomic status

Jane Jacobs, Karen Peterson, Steven Allender, Laura Alston, Melanie Nichols

(2018), Vol. 42, pp. 467-473, Australia and New Zealand journal of public health, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal
2017

Rural inequalities in the Australian burden of ischaemic heart disease: a systematic review

L Alston, S Allender, K Peterson, J Jacobs, M Nichols

(2017), Vol. 26, pp. 122-133, Heart lung and circulation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal

Comparison between measured and perceived weight status in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults

J Herbert, K Peterson, L Alston, S Allender, M Nichols

(2017), Vol. 11, pp. 414-425, Obesity research & clinical practice, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal

School-based systems change for obesity prevention in adolescents: outcomes of the Australian Capital Territory 'It's Your Move!'

M Malakellis, E Hoare, A Sanigorski, N Crooks, S Allender, M Nichols, B Swinburn, C Chikwendu, P Kelly, S Petersen, L Millar

(2017), Vol. 41, pp. 490-496, Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal

Quantifying the role of modifiable risk factors in the differences in cardiovascular disease mortality rates between metropolitan and rural populations in Australia: a macrosimulation modelling study

L Alston, K Peterson, J Jacobs, S Allender, M Nichols

(2017), Vol. 7, pp. 1-10, BMJ Open, London, Eng., C1

journal
2016

Depressive symptomatology, weight status and obesogenic risk among Australian adolescents: a prospective cohort study

E Hoare, L Millar, M Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, H Skouteris, M Nichols, M Malakellis, B Swinburn, S Allender

(2016), Vol. 6, pp. 1-11, BMJ open, London, Eng., C1

journal

Characterising the extent of misreporting of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes using the Australian Health Survey

K Peterson, J Jacobs, S Allender, L Alston, M Nichols

(2016), Vol. 16, pp. 1-11, BMC public health, London, Eng., C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe : epidemiological update 2016.

N Townsend, L Wilson, P Bhatnagar, K Wickramasinghe, M Rayner, M Nichols

(2016), Vol. 37, pp. 3232-3245, European heart journal, Oxford, Eng, C1

journal

A systematic review of published interventions for primary and secondary prevention of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) in rural populations of Australia

L Alston, K Peterson, J Jacobs, S Allender, M Nichols

(2016), Vol. 16, pp. 1-11, BMC public health, London, Eng., C1

journal

Quantifying the association between physical activity and cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

A Wahid, N Manek, M Nichols, P Kelly, C Foster, P Webster, A Kaur, C Friedemann Smith, E Wilkins, M Rayner, N Roberts, P Scarborough

(2016), Vol. 5, pp. 1-11, Journal of the American Heart Association, Hoboken, N.J., C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe 2016: an epidemiological update

N Townsend, L Wilson, P Bhatnagar, K Wickramasinghe, M Rayner, M Nichols

(2016), Vol. 37, pp. 3182-3183, European heart journal, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal
2015

Systematic review of mental health and well-being outcomes following community-based obesity prevention interventions among adolescents

E Hoare, M Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, H Skouteris, L Millar, M Nichols, S Allender

(2015), Vol. 5, BMJ Open, C1

journal

Web search activity data accurately predict population chronic disease risk in the USA

T Nguyen, T Tran, W Luo, S Gupta, S Rana, Q Phung, M Nichols, L Millar, S Venkatesh, S Allender

(2015), Vol. 69, pp. 693-699, Journal of epidemiology and community health, London, Eng., C1

journal

Is demography destiny? Application of machine learning techniques to accurately predict population health outcomes from a minimal demographic dataset

W Luo, T Nguyen, M Nichols, T Tran, S Rana, S Gupta, Q Phung, S Venkatesh, S Allender

(2015), Vol. 10, pp. 1-13, PLoS One, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal

The stability of weight status through the early to middle childhood years in Australia: a longitudinal study

N Wheaton, L Millar, S Allender, M Nichols

(2015), Vol. 5, pp. 1-9, BMJ open, London, Eng., C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe - epidemiological update 2015

N Townsend, N Townsend, M Nichols, M Nichols, P Scarborough, P Scarborough, M Rayner, M Rayner

(2015), Vol. 36, pp. 2696-2705, European heart journal, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

Critical design features for establishing a childhood obesity monitoring program in Australia

K Lacy, M Nichols, A De Silva, S Allender, B Swinburn, E Leslie, L Jones, P Kremer

(2015), Vol. 21, pp. 369-372, Australian journal of primary health, Melbourne, Vic, C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe 2015 : epidemiological update

N Townsend, M Nichols, P Scarborough, M Rayner

(2015), Vol. 36, pp. 2696-2705, European heart journal, London, Eng., C1

journal
2014

Relationship between raised BMI and sugar sweetened beverage and high fat food consumption among children

L Millar, B Rowland, M Nichols, B Swinburn, C Bennett, H Skouteris, S Allender

(2014), Vol. 22, Obesity, C1

journal

Associations between obesogenic risk and depressive symptomatology in Australian adolescents: A cross-sectional study

E Hoare, L Millar, M Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, H Skouteris, M Nichols, F Jacka, B Swinburn, C Chikwendu, S Allender

(2014), Vol. 68, pp. 767-772, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe 2014: epidemiological update

M Nichols, N Townsend, P Scarborough, M Rayner

(2014), Vol. 35, pp. 2950-2959, European heart journal, Oxford, England, C1

journal

A systematic review and meta-analysis of whole of community interventions to prevent excessive population weight gain

L Wolfenden, R Wyse, M Nichols, S Allender, L Millar, P McElduff

(2014), Vol. 62, pp. 193-200, Preventive Medicine, C1

journal
2013

Increasing community capacity and decreasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in a community based intervention among australian adolescents

L Millar, N Robertson, S Allender, M Nichols, C Bennett, B Swinburn

(2013), Vol. 56, pp. 379-384, Preventive Medicine, C1

journal

Inconsistent associations between sweet drink intake and 2-year change in BMI among Victorian children and adolescents

B Jensen, M Nichols, S Allender, A De Silva-Sanigorski, L Millar, P Kremer, K Lacy, B Swinburn

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 271-283, Pediatric Obesity, C1

journal

Adolescent dietary patterns in Fiji and their relationships with standardized body mass index

J Wate, W Snowdon, L Millar, M Nichols, H Mavoa, R Goundar, A Kama, B Swinburn

(2013), Vol. 10, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, C1

journal

Trends in age-specific coronary heart disease mortality in the European Union over three decades: 1980-2009

M Nichols, N Townsend, P Scarborough, M Rayner

(2013), Vol. 34, pp. 3017-3027, European Heart Journal, C1

journal

Community-based efforts to prevent obesity: Australia-wide survey of projects

M Nichols, R Reynolds, E Waters, T Gill, L King, B Swinburn, S Allender

(2013), Vol. 24, pp. 111-117, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, C1

journal

Cardiovascular disease in Europe: Epidemiological update

M Nichols, N Townsend, P Scarborough, M Rayner

(2013), Vol. 34, pp. 3028-3034, European Heart Journal, C1

journal
2012

What is the optimal level of population alcohol consumption for chronic disease prevention in England? Modelling the impact of changes in average consumption levels

M Nichols, P Scarborough, S Allender, M Rayner

(2012), Vol. 2, BMJ Open, C1

journal

Process and impact evaluation of the romp & chomp obesity prevention intervention in early childhood settings: Lessons learned from implementation in preschools and long day care settings

A De Silva-Sanigorski, A Bell, P Kremer, J Park, L Demajo, M Smith, S Sharp, M Nichols, L Carpenter, R Boak, B Swinburn

(2012), Vol. 8, pp. 205-215, Childhood Obesity, C1

journal

Consumption patterns of sweet drinks in a population of Australian children and adolescents (2003-2008)

B Jensen, M Nichols, S Allender, A De Silva-Sanigorski, L Millar, P Kremer, K Lacy, B Swinburn

(2012), Vol. 12, BMC Public Health, C1

journal
2011

Obesity prevention in the family day care setting: Impact of the Romp & Chomp intervention on opportunities for children's physical activity and healthy eating

A De Silva-Sanigorski, D Elea, C Bell, P Kremer, L Carpenter, M Nichols, M Smith, S Sharp, R Boak, B Swinburn

(2011), Vol. 37, pp. 385-393, Child: Care, Health and Development, C1

journal

The development of a network for community-based obesity prevention: The CO-OPS Collaboration

S Allender, M Nichols, C Foulkes, R Reynolds, E Waters, L King, T Gill, R Armstrong, B Swinburn

(2011), Vol. 11, BMC Public Health, C1

journal

Decreasing trends in overweight and obesity among an Australian population of preschool children

M Nichols, A Silva-Sanigorski, J Cleary, S Goldfeld, A Colahan, B Swinburn

(2011), Vol. 35, pp. 916-924, International Journal of Obesity, C1

journal
2010

Selection of priority groups for obesity prevention current approaches and development of an evidence-informed framework

M Nichols, B Swinburn

(2010), Vol. 11, pp. 731-739, Obesity reviews, Oxford, England, C1

journal

Reducing obesity in early childhood: Results from Romp & Chomp, an Australian community-wide intervention program

A De Silva-Sanigorski, A Bell, P Kremer, M Nichols, M Crellin, M Smith, S Sharp, F De Groot, L Carpenter, R Boak, N Robertson, B Swinburn

(2010), Vol. 91, pp. 831-840, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, C1

journal
2009

Assessing the intake of obesity-related foods and beverages in young children: Comparison of a simple population survey with 24 hr-recall

C Bennett, A de Silva-Sanigorski, M Nichols, A Bell, B Swinburn

(2009), Vol. 6, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, C1

journal

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

RESPOND: Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-Communicable Disease

Prof Steven Allender, Dr Claudia Strugnell, Prof Boyd Swinburn, Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Anna Peeters, Dr Andrew Bell, Prof Marj Moodie, A/Prof Liliana Orellana

NHMRC - Partnership Project

  • 2019: $144,535
  • 2018: $85,145

Other Public Sector Funding

(Phase 2) - Provision and Evaluation of the It's Your Move Program in the ACT. (Phase 1) - systems-based interventions to promote healthy weight in ACT secondary schools - program planning

Dr Lynne Millar, Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Boyd Swinburn, Prof Steven Allender

  • 2014: $106,146
  • 2012: $118,000
  • 2011: $5,537

RESPOND: Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-Communicable Disease

Prof Steven Allender, Dr Claudia Strugnell, Prof Boyd Swinburn, Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Anna Peeters, Dr Andrew Bell, Prof Marj Moodie, A/Prof Liliana Orellana

  • 2019: $25,000
  • 2018: $25,000

Industry and Other Funding

HeartStats Project: The Heart Foundation/Deakin University Australian Heart Disease Statistics Project

Prof Steven Allender, Dr Melanie Nichols

  • 2015: $160,694
  • 2014: $169,230
  • 2013: $144,932

RESPOND: Reflexive Evidence and Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity and Non-Communicable Disease

Prof Steven Allender, Dr Claudia Strugnell, Prof Boyd Swinburn, Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Anna Peeters, Dr Andrew Bell, Prof Marj Moodie, A/Prof Liliana Orellana

  • 2018: $22,500

Preventing chronic diseases in rural populations for future generations: The role of rural health services in guiding community efforts to improve the food environment.

Miss Laura Alston, Prof Steven Allender, A/Prof Vincent Versace, Dr Melanie Nichols, Ms Kristy Bolton

  • 2019: $41,359

Translate a community-based and 'systems informed' childhood obesity intervention.

Dr Claudia Strugnell, Prof Steven Allender, Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Anna Peeters, Prof Colin Bell, Prof Marj Moodie, A/Prof Liliana Orellana, Dr Josh Hayward, Mr Andrew Brown

  • 2018: $70,000

Other Funding Sources

International Society Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention (ISCEP)

Dr Melanie Nichols, Prof Steven Allender

  • 2017: $15,000
  • 2016: $15,000
  • 2015: $62,000

Supervisions

Principal Supervisor
2019

Laura Veronica Alston

Thesis entitled: Policy priorities to reduce disparities in ischaemic heart disease among rural Australians

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development

Associate Supervisor
2016

Erin Jane Hoare

Thesis entitled: Obesogenic risk and depression: patterns and prevention among adolescents

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development

2015

Jillian Tutuo Wate

Thesis entitled: Obesity, Dietary Choices, and Sociocultural Influences among Fijian Adolescents

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development