Dr Rebecca Leech

STAFF PROFILE

Position

NHF Research Fellow & NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow

Faculty

Faculty of Health

Department

School of Exercise & Nut. Sci.

Campus

Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2018
Bachelor of Food Science & Nutrition (Honours), Deakin University, 2013
Master of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Newcastle, 2012
Bachelor of Health Sciences, Deakin University, 2009
Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary), Monash University, 2001
Bachelor of Arts, Monash University, 2000

Contact

rebecca.leech@deakin.edu.au
+61 3 522 78768

Biography

Dr Rebecca Leech is a Registered Nutritionist funded by a NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship and a NHF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. She worked as a secondary teacher of German and Science before pursuing a career in Nutrition whilst raising three children. Prior to commencing an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in 2018, she completed a Master of Clinical Epidemiology (coursework) at the University of Newcastle, shortly followed by an Honours year, as part of the Bachelor of Food Sciences and Nutrition degree, and a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology, at Deakin University. Using her skills in biostatistics, Rebecca has contributed to a range of research projects within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition. In 2018, Rebecca was awarded an Alfred Deakin Medal for her doctoral thesis which examined adults’ eating patterns and their associations with diet quality and obesity. Her postdoctoral research, supervised by Professor Sarah McNaughton, extends on her PhD research, by applying novel analytic approaches to understand determinants of food intake at eating occasions and the role of eating patterns in cardiometabolic health in adults. Her research intends to inform the development of dietary advice that is context-specific and tailored to reflect everyday eating situations. She is currently the Chair of the Student Mentor Group for the Nutrition Society of Australia.

Read more on Rebecca's profile

Biography summary

Dr Rebecca Leech is a Registered Nutritionist and Nutritional Epidemiologist, funded by a NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship and a NHF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. She is based at Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition and is also the Student Mentoring Chair for the Nutrition Society of Australia. Rebecca has a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology, and in 2018, was awarded an Alfred Deakin Medal for her doctoral thesis, which examined adults’ eating patterns and their associations with diet quality and obesity. Her postdoctoral research, extends on this, and applies novel analytic approaches to understand determinants of food intake at eating occasions and the role of eating patterns in cardiometabolic health in adults

Career highlights

Awards and Prizes

  1. National Heatlh and Medical Research Council Emerging Leadership Fellowship, NHMRC ($ 523,145; Jan 2021-Dec 2024)
  2. First prize, Best poster presentation (voted by delegates), Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA), Brisbane (2019; $100)
  3. National Heart Foundation (NHF) Postdoctoral Fellowship, NHF. (Cat. 1 funding; $150,000; commencing July 2019; 2 years)
  4. Finalist, Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research (Public Health Researcher Category. (2019) Winner to be announced March 2019.
  5. Early Career Travel Grant, Nutrition Society of Australia ($1000). A competitive award that recognises high quality nutrition research completed by early career researchers. (2018)
  6. Alfred Deakin Medal for Doctoral Thesis. Awarded to the student who produced the most outstanding thesis, Deakin University (2018)
  7. First prize, Best PhD paper, School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University (2018, 2015)
  8. Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship, Deakin University. This a highly competitive fellowship scheme (11% success rate in 2017, 18 awarded from 159 applications), ($205,797; 2018-2019)
  9. Higher Degrees by Research Publication Award, Faculty of Health, Deakin University ($3000). Award to support publication of research findings from PhD thesis (2017)
  10. The Nutrition Society Paper of the Month for paper in Nutrition Research Reviews (June, 2015)
  11. Deakin University Finalist (including school winner and faculty runner-up), 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Deakin University (2015)
  12. Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship (2013-2016)

Invited International Conference Presentation

Leech RM. Understanding adults’ eating patterns: definitions, methodology and associations with diet and health. Invited Early Career Researcher Presentation, International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Cape Town (International), June 2016

Research interests

Eating patterns and eating behaviours in relation to cardiometabolic health

Contextual and environmental correlations of eating behaviours

Clustering of lifestyle behaviours

Application of advanced, data-driven statistical methods to solve complex research questions that relate to eating and health in the real world

Nutritional epidemiology

Knowledge areas

  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Advanced biostastics - with expertise in the applications of exploratory data-driven analytic methods such as latent class analysis, growth mixture modelling, cluster analysis
  • Eating patterns and eating behaviours
  • Obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors
  • Clustering of lifestyle behaviours

Conferences

INVITED PRESENTATIONS

Leech RM. Understanding adults’ eating patterns: definitions, methodology and associations with diet and health. Invited Early Career Researcher Presentation, International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Cape Town (International), June 2016

Leech RM. Learning to embrace chaos: tales of a fledgling researcher and an over-caffeinated mum. School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Higher Degrees by Research and Honours Symposium (invited keynote speaker; October 2018)

Leech RM. Temporal eating patterns of Australian adults: methodology and associations with diet and health. Nutrition Society of Australia Symposium: A good time to eat: the impact of time of day on health outcomes (invited presenter; October 2018)

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

Leech RM, Pendergast FJ, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Correlates of sugar-sweetened beverage intake at eating occasions in Australian young adults. NSA ASM, Canberra, Nov 2018

Leech RM, Pendergast FJ, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Correlates of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in Australian young adults. ECR Symposium (Prize session). ANZOS, Melbourne, 2018.

Leech RM, Timperio A, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Eating patterns of Australian adults: associations with blood pressure and prevalence of hypertension. Poster Presentation. Nutrition 2018 (American Society for Nutrition Scientific Meeting. Boston, June 2018

Leech RM, Timperio A, Livingstone KM, Worsley A, McNaughton SA. Temporal eating patterns: associations with nutrient intakes, diet quality and measures of adiposity. Oral Presentation. 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition. Adelaide, November 2017

Leech RM, Worsley A, Timperio A, McNaughton SA. Associations between eating patterns and measures of adiposity in Australian adults. Oral Presentation. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia. Melbourne, November 2016

Leech RM, Livingstone KM, Worsley A, Timperio A, McNaughton SA. Associations between eating patterns, nutrient intake and diet quality. Poster Presentation. Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Cape Town, June 2016

McNaughton SA, Leech RM, Worsley A. Does the nutrient profile of snacks vary according to the time of day of consumption? Experimental Biology, San Diego, 2016.

McNaughton SA, Leech RM, Worsley. Trends in meal patterns of children and adolescents aged 2-18 years between 1995 and 2011: Analysis of two national surveys. Dietitians Association of Australia 32nd National Conference, Perth, 2015.

McNaughton SA, Leech RM, Worsley A. Examining trends in meal patterns between 1995 and 2011 using two national surveys. Experimental Biology, Boston, 2015.

Leech RM, Worsley A, Timperio A, McNaughton SA. Does the Choice of Meal Definition Influence How Meal Patterns Are Characterised? International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods, Brisbane, 2015

Leech RM, Worsley A, Timperio A, McNaughton SA. Characterising meal patters: a comparison of meal definitions. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia. Hobart, 2014.

Leech RM, Worsley A, Timperio A, McNaughton SA. Patterns of meal timing in Australian adults: a latent class analysis approach. Poster Presentation. International Conference on Diet and Activity Methods, Brisbane, September 2015.

McNaughton SA, Leech RM, Worsley. Examining the meal patterns of Australian adults between 1995 and 2011. ANZOS 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney, 2014

Professional activities

Honorary Chair of the Student Mentoring Group, Nutrition Society of Australia, (2018 - present)

Co-chair and co-ordinator, Monthly Lunch and Learn Meeting, Dietary Patterns and Eating Behaviours Research Group, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University, (2018 - present)

Reviewer for the Health Ethics Advisory Group. Role is to review ethics applications (~1 per month) for low risk human health research (2018 - present)

Current Registered Nutrition (RNutr), Nutrition Society of Australia (2016 - present)

Research groups

Dietary Patterns and Eating Behaviours, Insitute for Physical Activity and Nutrition

Awards

Selected Awards and Prizes

  1. National Heart Foundation (NHF) Postdoctoral Fellowship, NHF. (Cat. 1 funding; $150,000; commencing July 2019; 2 years)
  2. Finalist, Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research (Public Health Researcher Category. (2019) Winner to be announced March 2019.
  3. Early Career Travel Grant, Nutrition Society of Australia ($1000). A competitive award that recognises high quality nutrition research completed by early career researchers. (2018)
  4. Alfred Deakin Medal for Doctoral Thesis. Awarded to the student who produced the most outstanding thesis, Deakin University (2018)
  5. First prize, Best PhD paper, School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University (2018, 2015)
  6. Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship, Deakin University. This a highly competitive fellowship scheme (11% success rate in 2017, 18 awarded from 159 applications), ($205,797; 2018-2019)
  7. Higher Degrees by Research Publication Award, Faculty of Health, Deakin University ($3000). Award to support publication of research findings from PhD thesis (2017)
  8. Second prize, Best student oral presentation, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 11th Higher Degrees by Research Symposium, Melbourne (2015)
  9. The Nutrition Society Paper of the Month for paper in Nutrition Research Reviews (June, 2015)
  10. Deakin University Finalist (including school winner and faculty runner-up), 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Deakin University (2015)
  11. Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship (2013-2016)
  12. Student Travel Grant to present at Nutrition Society of Australia Scientific Meetings (Years awarded: 2012-2014)
  13. Second prize for best student oral presentation, Nutrition Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting (Brisbane, 2013)
  14. Australian Unity Faculty Award for best Honours thesis related to the topic of wellbeing ($500; 2013)

Projects

Current Funded Projects

National Health and Medical Research Council Emerging Leader Fellowship Investigator Grant: "Eating in context: Understanding the pathways through which everyday contextual factors influence food choices and cardiometabolic health" (APP1175250; $523,145; Jan 2021 - Dec 2024)

National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Project: "Eating in context: A multilevel approach to understanding eating patterns and their role in cardiovascular health" (ID: 102138; $150,000; 2019-2021)

Past Funded Projects

Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Project: "Eating patterns in context: A multilevel approach to understanding eating patterns and their role in cardiometabolic health" (Project ID: RM33996; $205,797; 2018-2019)

PhD project funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award: "Understanding adults' eating patterns" ($88,0000; 2013-2017)

Publications

Filter by

2020

Activity accumulation and cardiometabolic risk in youth: a latent profile approach

S Verswijveren, K Lamb, R Leech, J Salmon, A Timperio, R Telford, M McNarry, K Mackintosh, R Daly, D Dunstan, C Hume, E Cerin, L Olive, N Ridgers

(2020), Vol. 52, pp. 1502-1510, Medicine and science in sports and exercise, Philadelphia, Pa., C1

journal article

Does modality matter? A latent profile and transition analysis of sedentary behaviours among school-aged youth: the UP&DOWN study: profile transitions of sedentary behaviours

D Sánchez-Oliva, R Leech, A Grao-Cruces, I Esteban-Cornejo, C Padilla-Moledo, O Veiga, V Cabanas-Sánchez, J Castro-Piñero

(2020), Vol. 38, pp. 1062-1069, Journal of sports sciences, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal article

A systematic review of lifestyle patterns and their association with adiposity in children aged 5-12 years

N D'Souza, K Kuswara, M Zheng, R Leech, K Downing, S Lioret, K Campbell, K Hesketh

(2020), Vol. 21, pp. 1-12, Obesity reviews, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Eating occasion situational factors and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in young adults

S McNaughton, F Pendergast, A Worsley, R Leech

(2020), Vol. 17, pp. 1-12, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, London, Eng., C1

journal article

A comparison of diet quality indices in a nationally representative cross-sectional study of Iranian households

Sara Ebrahimi, Sarah McNaughton, Rebecca Leech, Morteza Abdollahi, Anahita Houshiarrad, Katherine Livingstone

(2020), Vol. 19, pp. 1-11, Nutrition Journal, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2019

Eating patterns of Australian adults: associations with blood pressure and hypertension prevalence

Rebecca Leech, Anna Timperio, Anthony Worsley, Sarah McNaughton

(2019), Vol. 58, pp. 1899-1909, European journal of nutrition, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal article

Identification of health-related behavioural clusters and their association with demographic characteristics in Irish university students

Joseph Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Anna Timperio, Rebecca Leech, Catherine Woods

(2019), Vol. 19, BMC public health, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2018

The role of energy intake and energy misreporting in the associations between eating patterns and adiposity

R Leech, F Worsley, A Timperio, S McNaughton

(2018), Vol. 72, pp. 142-147, European journal of clinical nutrition, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Patterning of neighbourhood food outlets and longitudinal associations with children's eating behaviours

A Timperio, D Crawford, R Leech, K Lamb, K Ball

(2018), Vol. 111, pp. 248-253, Preventive medicine, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Are dietary inequalities among Australian adults changing? a nationally representative analysis of dietary change according to socioeconomic position between 1995 and 2011-13

D Olstad, R Leech, K Livingstone, K Ball, B Thomas, J Potter, X Cleanthous, R Reynolds, S McNaughton

(2018), Vol. 15, International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2017

Temporal eating patterns: a latent class analysis approach

R Leech, A Worsley, A Timperio, S McNaughton

(2017), Vol. 14, pp. 1-9, International journal of behavioral nutrition, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Temporal eating patterns: associations with nutrient intakes, diet quality, and measures of adiposity

R Leech, A Timperio, K Livingstone, A Worsley, S McNaughton

(2017), Vol. 106, pp. 1121-1130, American journal of clinical nutrition, Rockville, Md., C1

journal article

Novel online or mobile methods to assess eating patterns

F Pendergast, R Leech, S McNaughton

(2017), Vol. 6, pp. 212-227, Current Nutrition Reports, Philadelphia, PA, C1

journal article

Socioeconomic inequities in diet quality and nutrient intakes among Australian adults: findings from a nationally representative cross-sectional study

K Livingstone, D Olstad, R Leech, K Ball, B Meertens, J Potter, X Cleanthous, R Reynolds, S McNaughton

(2017), Vol. 9, Nutrients, Basel, Switzerland, C1

journal article
2016

Meal frequency but not snack frequency is associated with micronutrient intakes and overall diet quality in Australian men and women.

R Leech, K Livingstone, A Worsley, A Timperio, S McNaughton

(2016), Vol. 146, pp. 2027-2034, Journal of nutrition, Rockville, MD., C1

journal article
2015

Understanding meal patterns: definitions, methodology and impact on nutrient intake and diet quality

R Leech, A Worsley, A Timperio, S McNaughton

(2015), Vol. 28, pp. 1-21, Nutrition research reviews, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

Clustering of diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour among Australian children: cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with overweight and obesity

R Leech, S McNaughton, A Timperio

(2015), Vol. 39, pp. 1079-1085, International journal of obesity, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Is the relationship between sedentary behaviour and cardiometabolic health in adolescents independent of dietary intake? A systematic review.

E Fletcher, R Leech, S McNaughton, D Dunstan, K Lacy, J Salmon

(2015), Vol. 16, pp. 795-805, Obesity reviews, London, Eng, C1

journal article

Characterizing eating patterns: a comparison of eating occasion definitions

R Leech, A Worsley, A Timperio, S McNaughton

(2015), Vol. 102, pp. 1229-1237, American journal of clinical nutrition, Washington, D.C., C1

journal article
2014

Family food involvement and frequency of family dinner meals among Australian children aged 10-12years. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with dietary patterns

R Leech, S McNaughton, D Crawford, K Campbell, N Pearson, A Timperio

(2014), Vol. 75, pp. 64-70, Appetite, C1

journal article

Clustering of children's obesity-related behaviours: Associations with sociodemographic indicators

R Leech, S McNaughton, A Timperio

(2014), Vol. 68, pp. 623-628, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, C1

journal article

The clustering of diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior in children and adolescents: A review

R Leech, S McNaughton, A Timperio

(2014), Vol. 11, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Eating in context: A multilevel approach to understanding eating patterns and their role in cardiometabolic health

Dr Rebecca Leech

NHF Fellowship - Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - National Heart Foundation of Australia

  • 2021: $38,750
  • 2020: $76,925
  • 2019: $38,175

Eating in context: Understanding the pathways through which everyday contextual factors influence food choices and cardiometabolic health.

Dr Rebecca Leech

NHMRC - Investigator Grant

  • 2021: $53,100
  • 2020: $50,700

Supervisions

No completed student supervisions to report