Dr Jenny O'Dea

BA, GradDipNutDiet, MPubHealth, PhD
Honorary Professor in Health Education
+61 2 4283 7411
+61 2 93512606
A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

Jenny O'Dea is a dietitian and nutritionist more than 25 years' experience. She has lectured in nutrition and health education at The University of Sydney. Jenny is also the author of three books about nutrition and health, and has carried out many large research studies into body image, self-concept, self-esteem and eating issues among children, adolescents and college students.

Her PhD in medicine focused on ways to prevent body-image problems and eating disorders among children and adolescents using a school-based, self-esteem approach, and the results of her study influenced health researchers worldwide, paving the way for a more positive approach to preventing body-image problems and eating disorders in young people. She has also authored more than 50 research publications in well-known international journals.

Jenny is well known for her contributions to the media and public debate about food, nutrition, body image and health, and is a long-time advocate of commonsense and a balanced view-point when it comes to food, nutrition and eating. She believes that food should be enjoyed as both nutritious and delicious.

  • Associate Editor, Health Education Research: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press
  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Preventive Medicine 2015–2016
  • Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010–2016
  • Editorial Board Member, The Open Education Journal 2008–2010

  • O’Dea, J.A. (Editor) (2012) Current issues and controversies in school and community health, sport and physical education. Nova Science Publishers, New York, USA.
  • O’Dea, J.A & Eriksen, M. (2010) Childhood obesity prevention. International research, controversies and interventions. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
  • O’Dea, J.A. (2007). Everybody’s different: A positive approach to teaching about health puberty, body image, nutrition, self-esteem and obesity prevention. Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Melbourne.
  • O’Dea, J.A. (2005). Positive food for kids. Random House/Doubleday, Sydney. (Published in Indonesian in 2008).
  • Beveridge, S. & O’Dea, J. (1996). Teachers notes for Mary Jane. Random House, Sydney.
  • O’Dea, J. (1992). Family nutrition. Custom Book Company, Sydney.
  • Twible, R., O’Dea, J. and Gigov, T. (1991). Healthy eating for older adults. Torch, Sydney.
  • O’Dea, J. (1986). Healthy food your kids will love. Currey/O’Neil, Melbourne.

Selected book chapters
  • O'Dea, J.A. & Cinelli, R.L. (2016) "Use of drugs to change appearance in girls and female adolescents" In M. Hall, S. Grogan & B. Gough (Eds.) Chemically modified bodies the use of diverse substances for appearance enhancement. Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK.
  • O’Dea, J & Yager, Z. (2015) "School-based prevention". In M.P. Levine, & L. Smolak (Eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of eating disorders, vol 2, pp 569-581. Wiley-Blackwell, New York, USA.
  • O’Dea, J.A. (2013) "Body image issues in adolescents." In K. Steinbeck & Kohn, M (Eds) A clinical handbook in adolescent medicine, World Scientific, New York. pp 41-49.
  • O’Dea, J.A. (2012) "School experience as a determinant of future health: benefits of developing a whole school approach to health promotion." In Baur, Twigg & Magnussen (Eds.), A modern epidemic - expert perspectives on obesity and diabetes. Sydney: Sydney University Press
  • O’Dea J (2012) "Body image and self-esteem" In: Thomas F. Cash, (Ed.) Encyclopedia of body image and human appearance, Vol 1.San Diego: Academic Press; pp. 141–147.
  • O’Dea, J.A. (2012) "Preventing body image problems, school-based approaches" In T.F. Cash (Ed.) Encyclopedia of body image and human appearance Vol. 2, San Diego: Academic Press, pp 686–692.
  • Cinelli, R. & O’Dea, J.A. (2012) "Body image among Aboriginal children and adolescents in Australia" In A. Maksimov (Ed.) Encyclopedia of abnormal psychology (2 Volume Set) New York: Nova Science.pp 629-659.
  • O’Dea, J.A. & Cinelli, R.L. (2012) "Approaches to campus based screening, online interventions, body image improvement and eating disorder prevention among university students" In J.A.O’Dea (Ed.) Current issues and controversies in school and community health, sport and physical education. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Selected journal articles
  • Cinelli, R. L., & O’Dea, J. A. (2016) "Obesity prevention programs in children: impact on weight, shape and food concern." Current Obesity Reports, 5(1):88-96 DOI 10.1007/s13679-016-0195-x
  • O'Dea JA. (2016) "Evaluation of nutrition and physical activity knowledge, attitudes, self efficacy and behaviors in teachers and children after implementation of the "Healthy Active Kids" online program in Australian elementary schools." Health, 293-303 DOI: 10.4236/health.2016.84031
  • O'Dea JA & Yager Z. (Under Review) "Body dissatisfaction and weight change strategies in Australian male adolescents in 2000 and 2012." Psychology of Men & Masculinity
  • Cinelli R & O'Dea JA. (Under Review) "Weight status, body image, desired weight and weight change attempts among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Australia." Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
  • O’Dea JA. & Dibley MJ. (2014) "Change in prevalence of obesity, overweight and thinness in Australian schoolchildren from low, middle and high socioeconomic backgrounds by ethnic/cultural group between 2006 and 2012." International Journal of Public Health, 59:819–828. DOI: 10.1007/s00038-014-0605-3
  • O’Dea, J.A., Chiang, H & Peralta, L. (2014) "Socioeconomic patterns of overweight, obesity but not thinness persist from childhood to adolescence in a 6-year longitudinal cohort of Australian schoolchildren from 2007 to 2012." BMC Public Health http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/222
  • Rowley, J. & O’Dea, J.A. (2014) "Enjoyment of eLearning among teacher education students in Australia." International Research In Education vol 2(1) doi:10.5296/xxx.vxix.xxx
  • Yager, Z. & O’Dea, J.A. (2014) "Body image, nutritional supplement use, and attitudes towards doping in sport among adolescent boys: Implications for prevention programs." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11:14. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-13.