Micronutrient expert joins School of Public Health

Furthering understanding of how dietary behaviours are influenced by stress is just one of the research areas focused on by public health nutritionist Associate Professor Faruk Ahmed at Griffith University’s School of Public Health.

A newcomer to the university’s Gold Coast campus and its Health Practice Innovation program, Associate Professor Ahmed is currently studying the association between stress and dietary behaviours among first year students at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus.

“It would appear at this stage of the study that a significant proportion of the 400 students are suffering from some level of stress, and those with stress, in particular females, appear to have an unhealthy diet ,” he says. Dr. Ahmed is planning to further investigate the association between dietary behaviours and mental health among the Australian population, in particular the potential links with depression.

A strong background in micronutrients

In collaboration with others in nutrition and dietetics and with a strong background in micronutrients, Associate Professor Ahmed is also investigating the prevalence of dietary supplement use among Griffith University staff and students, and examining the knowledge and attitudes surrounding their use.

Previously a holder of senior teaching positions at Kuwait University, the University of Queensland and the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Associate Professor Ahmed’s other major focus is on developing an appropriate intervention for preventing micronutrient deficiency among adolescent females in Third World countries.

“In Asia, there is a high prevalence of anaemia as a result of iron deficiencies and other micronutrients. There are also unfortunately, increases still being seen in the number of low birth-weight babies as a result of these deficiencies.”

Associate Professor Ahmed said he is also aiming to extend his research into the effects of supplementation with multiple micronutrients among young women in rural Bangladesh, as well as devising strategies for prevention of chronic diseases among people in the Middle East.