News and Events

Dietary recommendation for adolescent athletes

The Centre for Adolescent Health was pleased to contribute to a Sawyer_Susanworld-first set of dietary recommendations to help active adolescent athletes achieve optimal health and sporting success. The new position statement, released by Sports Dietitians Australia, provides advice on all aspects of an adolescent’s diet including energy intake; carbohydrate, protein and fat needs; fluid requirements; and specific nutrients of importance, such as iron, calcium and vitamin D. Adolescent Athlete_FACT SHEET

The position statement also warns against the use of performance enhancing dietary supplements by active adolescent athletes as unnecessary and potentially hazardous to their health.

Professor Sawyer contributed to the development of the Position Statement that framed the challenges for adolescent athletes who have unique nutrition needs as a consequence of their daily training when coupled with the added demands of adolescent growth and development. In adolescence, it is important that attention is paid to establishing long term healthy eating habits and health, not just sporting performance.

The Position Statement was recently published online in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.


Visiting Scottish academics

Scots_2014The Centre for Adolescent Health was pleased to host four visiting Scottish academics from the University of West of Scotland who spent 10 days exploring a range of programs run by the Centre for Adolescent Health and the RCH, including Adolescent Medicine, the Young People’s Health Service and various programs relating to transition to adult health care and child protection.

Professor Jean Herbison is a Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow with expertise in Child Protection and Sexual Abuse.

Dr. Jean Rankin is Senior Lecturer and Academic Director for Midwifery at the university, responsible for developing the research agenda within the Maternal, Child and Family Health Subject Development Group.

Ms Jackie McFadyen is a Senior Lecturer and has led the Health Visiting and Sexual Health Programmes for many years. Jackie has played a major role in the first School Nursing programme in Scotland which commences in 2015.

Ms Maureen Bell is a Consultant Nurse with NHS Ayrshire and Arran and has responsibility for Child Protection.

They are shown here with Dr Cate Rayner, one of our Fellows in Adolescent Medicine (far left), and Professor Susan Sawyer, Director, Centre for Adolescent Health (third from right).


Next Steps for Adolescent Health

photo georgeAdolescents and young adults make up over a quarter of the global population. They are also considered the most pervasively neglected group in global health. Yet a quiet revolution is now bringing recognition that adolescents are central to almost every major challenge in global health. Bringing greater visibility to adolescents and their health has been an important facet of that recognition, which Professor George Patton has done much to promote.

Professor Patton was recently at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, Washington, where he presented a symposium titled ‘Next Steps for Adolescent Health’ (hotlink to The presentation tracked progress in our understandings of adolescent health and major influences on health over these years. It also addressed currently available global data, gaps, and potential solutions.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is responsible for the Global Burden of Disease Study which will play an important role in the new Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being  and in guiding the development of better health information systems for this age group.

Few Australian adolescents with type 1 diabetes have confidential visits with doctors


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Not many adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) in Australia have confidential visits with their doctors as guidelines recommend, new research suggests.While guidelines emphasize the benefits of seeing young people alone for confidential consultations, parental involvement is known to contribute to better diabetes control in young people with T1DM, and parents may feel conflicted about allowing their children to have more independence in the health setting, the authors write online February 10 in Journal of Adolescent Health.

New publication: Balancing parental involvement with adolescent health care

Dr-Rony-DuncanA recent paper Balancing Parental Involvement With Adolescent Friendly Health Care in Teenagers With Diabetes: Are We Getting It Right? was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

This paper discusses how the rates of confidential care for adolescents in chronic illness outpatient settings are low. Parents also feel conflicted about confidential care for adolescents in this setting. Understanding how to attend to both parent and adolescent perspectives is an important clinical and research opportunity.

Lancet Editorial

adolescents1One Quarter of the world’s population are adolescents. Over the last 18 months there have been increasing numbers of academic publications recognizing the importance of adolescent issues, and now there is to be a Lancet Commission in Adolescent Health in partnership with the University of Melbourne, University College London, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Columbia University. Vol 383 February 1, 2014 385
Click here to read the Article

Congratulations to Professor Daniel Le Grange


Warmest congratulations to Professor Daniel Le Grange who has just been awarded the Academy of Eating Disorder’s Leadership Award for Research for 2014.

The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment and prevention. Their Leadership Award for Research honours an individual who has used research to develop new knowledge about eating disorders that has had a measureable impact on the field.

Given the contribution that Prof Le Grange has made to Family Based Treatment for adolescent eating disorders, he is a most worthy recipient, who we are honoured to work with. Thanks to a grant from the Baker Foundation, Professor Le Grange spends part of the year at the Centre for Adolescent Health in a research leadership role (Professorial Fellow) within the RCH Eating Disorder Program (The University of Melbourne). His core academic appointment is at The University of Chicago, where he is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Eating Disorders Program at The University of Chicago.

Centre farewell’s visiting doctoral student from Iran


The Centre for Adolescent Health recently farewelled Ms Elham Khoori, a senior midwife from Gorgan, Iran who has a special interest in adolescent reproductive and sexual health.

Accompanied by her husband, a reproductive biologist, and their two sons, Ms Khoori spent 6 months at the Centre for Adolescent Health and at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute as part of her doctoral training at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery.  The topic of her doctoral thesis is ‘Health Concerns of Iranian Adolescents: A Mixed Methods Study”, which is a school based study that focuses on the concerns of Iranian young people, including aspects of their sexual and reproductive health. In addition to her research experiences, Ms Khoori was also able to learn about different Australian models of clinical services for adolescents in both primary care and specialist settings.

Prior to her departure, Ms Khoori presented some of her research findings to the clinical and research groups of the Centre for Adolescent Health, which were met with much interest. She also presented her finding to the Department of General Practice at The University of Melbourne.

We wish her well on her return home

Susan Sawyer

Youth Health and Adolescent Medicine


Congratulations to the Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health, Professor Susan Sawyer, who has just published Australia’s first textbook on ‘Youth Health and Adolescent Medicine’, edited with colleagues Dr Melissa Kang, Associate Professor Rachel Skinner, Associate Professor Lena Sanci.

“The editors are excited that this field has come of age in Australia to the extent that a textbook is both needed and can be born of the enormous breadth and depth of expertise that resides among our colleagues”, she said.

 The book is in 4 parts:

  1. Adolescents and young people
  2. Clinical approaches and youth friendly care
  3. Common and important health issues in adolescence
  4. Complex, challenging and ill-defined disorders in adolescence.

Three of the 4 editors are based at the Centre (Professor Sawyer) or trained at the Centre for Adolescent Health (Rachel Skinner and Lena Sanci). Many current and past Centre staff and students contributed chapters, including John Toumbourou, Craig Olsson, Ian Williams, Bill Hallam, Sonia Grover, Michele Yeo, Yvonne Bonomo, Mick Creati, Kathy Rowe, Andrew Court and Andrew Kennedy.  

While spanning both population health and clinical perspectives, it will be most relevant for practicing clinicians, including doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, allied health professionals and students form a wide range of disciplines.

 The book can be ordered from IP communications and costs $80.

New PhD from the 2000 Stories Project

Congratulations to Carolyn Coffey on the completion of her PhD.
One of the major health risks for young people to emerge in recent decades relates to illicit drug useCC_cropped with cannabis being the most commonly used in Australia.  Yet there has been remarkably little work undertaken into quantifying the health risk associated with cannabis. This thesis is a narrative based on twelve papers published in international peer reviewed journals arising from the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study, which have contributed to our understanding of the natural history of adolescent cannabis use and the adverse consequences that may arise from its use in adolescence and young adulthood. Dr Coffey was intimately involved with this ongoing population-based cohort study which commenced in 1992 with 2000 fourteen-year-olds who were interviewed periodically until they were aged 29 years in 2010. This unique data set allowed her to track the transitions in behaviour through adolescence into adulthood and the longer term impact of cannabis use measured. The overall conclusion must be that cannabis use in adolescence is not harmless and, for some, has quite grave consequences in adulthood. The findings have already done much to shift community attitudes and policy responses.