Emeritus Professor Amanda Lee

Emeritus Professor

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine

Overview

Amanda Lee is Professor Public Health Policy in the School of Public Health (SPH) within the Faculty of Medicine. She is also Affiliate Professor at the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. Amanda has expertise in preventative health, public health nutrition, health policy, food systems and Indigenous nutrition and health. Her major area of research is the development, implementation and evaluation of public health policy actions to prevent and help manage non-communicable disease (NCD), with a focus on regulatory policy responses targeting obesity, poor diet and food insecurity, in both developed and low- and middle-income countries. Amanda now co-ordinates the SPH mentoring program, and was previously Head of the Division of Health Promotion and Equity at SPH. Her work takes a strong systems focus, underscored by the three pillars of health and wellbeing; equity; and environmental sustainability.

Amanda’s leadership skills are exemplified by appointments such as: Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Dietary Guidelines Working Committee and Infant Feeding Guidelines Sub-Committee (2008-2013); Senior Advisor for The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre at The Sax Institute; Member of the NHMRC's Nutrient Reference Values Steering Group Advisory Committee (2012-21); Member of the Australian Academy of Science's Nutrition Committee (2014-21); Chair of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s Consumer and Public Health Dialogue (2014-19); Member of the interim Board of Health and Wellbeing Queensland (2019-20); and member of advisory groups for the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Surveys (2009-11; 2020-22) and the two most recent Australian Burden of Disease studies. At the invitation of the CSIRO and two Australian Government Departments, she presented on health aspects at three national dialogues for the UN Food Security Summit 2021.

Amanda has worked in government, not-for profit, Aboriginal community-controlled and consultancy, as well as academic, sectors. She worked for the people of Minjilang who, in the 1980s, demonstrated using objective biomedical indicators that rapid and sustained improvements in diet, nutrition and health are possible. Among more recent projects Amanda: led scoping of a new National Nutrition Policy; conducted two systematic reviews of discretionary foods and another on fats and oils for the NHMRC; finalised the national Healthy Weight Website; conducted a rapid review of portion sizes for the Healthy Food Partnership; and assessed evidence to help prioritize obesity and nutrition policy actions in two state jurisdictions. On invitation, she consults to several Indigenous health organisations, with relationships on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkuntjatjara Lands (APY) Lands spanning four decades. She developed the Healthy Diets ASAP (Australian Standardised Affordability and Pricing) methods which are providing insights into ecomomic assess to healthy diets, and, globally, lead the food price and affordability domain of the International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS). Globally, she has conducted several nutrition policy workshops, contributed to three scoping reviews on dietary patterns and health for the World Health Oranization, is a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Network of World Obesity, Policy and Prevention, and an expert advisor to Canada, PR China and other countries on dietary guidance and health.

Since joining UQ, Amanda has been a Chief Investigator (CI) on research programs totaling over $A22 Million, currently including as CIA on an MRFF funded project to improve food security on the APY Lands, and as CI on the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (RE-FRESH); the NHMRC Special call: Giving Aboriginal and Torres STRait Islander children the best start in life: improving healthy food availability and food security in remote Australia; and the NHMRC Partnership Centres for Better Health-The Partnership Centre on Systems Perspectives on Preventing Lifestyle-Related Chronic Health Problems, also known as The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (TAPPC). She has recently completed two other MRFF funded projects as CIA- one on Diet and chronic disease prevention: supporting implementation of priority actions in the food and nutrition system, and another on Improving Aboriginal Food Security with remote and urban communities.

Amanda has published over 75 scholarly articles in quality, high profile peer reviewed journals and has written numerous reports and blogs and been interviewed for several podcasts. She maintains an active twitter account followed by several decision makers.

Research Interests

  • Preventive Health
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Planetary Health and Environmental Sustainability
  • Public Health Policy and Systems
  • Health and Social Equity

Research Impacts

Amanda's research is focussed on impacting improvements in public health policy and programs to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases. Amongst impacts, her research and advocacy has achieved the following:

- Her development, application and promotion of the Healthy Diets ASAP (Australian Standardised Affordability and Pricing) methods protocols has twice been used by non-government organisations and direct communication, to preserve exemption of basic, healthy foods in Australia from impost of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and maintain the application of GST on unhealthy (discretionary, ultra-processed) foods and drinks in Australia.

- The data her team produce from the Healthy Diets ASAP data are now used by the Queensland Council of Social Services to benchmark realistic budget standards for the cost of healthy diets for five representative housholds in the lowest houshold income quintile, as featured in their annual Cost of Living reports.

- Her invited involvement in the successful "Survival Tucker" project with the people of Minjilang demonstrated, using objective biomedical indicators (biochemistry, anthropometry, haematology) that rapid and sustained improvements in diet, nutrition and health are possible, was recognised by COAG who funded the National Indigenous Nutrition Congress in Alice Springs in 1991 as a result, and supported employment of 200 specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers to promote nutrition and food security programs under the Close the Gap initiative.

- The 'store-turnover' method she developed and validated to estimate community dietary intake in remote regions is still being used in research and health promotion projects today.

- Her invited involvement with Ngaanyatjara Pitjantjatjara Yunkuntjatja (NPY) Womens' Council and Nganampa Health Council amongst other organisations lead to improved food security and healthier diets on the APY Lands, as recognised in the Research Australia Inspire publication https://preventioncentre.org.au/news/aboriginal-communities-hungry-for-food-security/, attracting additional resources.

- The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ refresh of the principles underlying the assignment of a discretionary food flag to the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2023 draws dominantly from her and her teams' systematic reviews for the NHMRC.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Sydney

Publications

  • Lee, Amanda J., Herron, Lisa-Maree, Rainow, Stephan, Wells, Lisa, Kenny, Ingrid, Kenny, Leon, Wells, Imogen, Kavanagh, Margaret, Bryce, Suzanne and Balmer, Liza (2024). Improving economic access to healthy diets in first nations communities in high-income, colonised countries: a systematic scoping review. Nutrition Journal, 23 (1) 10, 10. doi: 10.1186/s12937-023-00895-0

  • Herath, Manoja P., Murray, Sandra, Lewis, Meron, Holloway, Timothy P., Hughes, Roger, Jayasinghe, Sisitha, Soward, Robert, Patterson, Kira A. E., Byrne, Nuala M., Lee, Amanda J., Hills, Andrew P. and Ahuja, Kiran D. K. (2023). Habitual diets are more expensive than recommended healthy diets. Nutrients, 15 (18) 3908, 1-11. doi: 10.3390/nu15183908

  • Whelan, Jillian, Brimblecombe, Julie, Christian, Meaghan, Vargas, Carmen, Ferguson, Megan, McMahon, Emma, Lee, Amanda, Bell, Colin, Boelsen-Robinson, Tara, Blake, Miranda R., Lewis, Meron, Alston, Laura and Allender, Steven (2023). CO-creation and evaluation of food environments to Advance Community Health (COACH). AJPM Focus, 2 (3) 100111, 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.focus.2023.100111

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Our team has several potential projects available in the area of preventive health policy, with a focus on addressing the commercial and socio-economic determinants of diet-related chronic disease and food insecurity. Please email me to discuss.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Lee, Amanda and O'Dea, Kerin (2015). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition and health. Food and nutrition throughout life. (pp. 261-275) edited by Sharon Croxford, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Regina Belski, Antonia Thodis, Sue Shepherd, Adrienne Forsyth and Audrey Tierney. Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Browne, Jennifer, Cullerton, Katherine, Gallegos, Danielle, Lee, Amanda, Donnett, Timothy, De Leeuw, Evelyne, Hayes, Rick, Gleeson, Deborah and Adams, Karen (2016). Analysing networks in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition policy: two approaches. Dietitians Association of Australia 33rd National Conference , Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 19 - 21 May 2016. Richmond, VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia.

  • Lee, Amanda (2013). The role of added sugar in a healthy diet and implications for health inequalities. Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2013, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 17th - 19th October, 2013. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2013.12.558

  • Abbott, R. A., Macdonald, D., Stubbs, C., Lee, A., Harper, C., Gedge, V. and Davies, P. S. W. (2007). The Healthy Kids Queensland Survey: Key findings. "be active '07" 2007 Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport, Adelaide, South Australia, 13-16 October, 2007. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S1440-2440(07)70053-1

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Our team has several potential projects available in the area of preventive health policy, with a focus on addressing the commercial and socio-economic determinants of diet-related chronic disease and food insecurity. Please email me to discuss.