The HealthNuts study of 5,300 children is the world’s first comprehensive population-based study of food allergy with an objective measurement of true food allergy. The study will enable researchers to better understand the natural history of allergic disorders including food allergy, asthma, eczema and hay fever and the risk factors for developing these conditions in the first six years of life. The study will have important implications for clinical guidelines and public health policy.

Wave 1 – data collected from whole sample (questionnaire and Skin Prick Test (SPT) at immunisation centre). Participants who recorded any SPT wheal size greater than the negative control were invited to participate in a food challenge
Wave 2 – data collected from whole sample (questionnaire only). In addition, anyone food allergic at wave 1 food challenge or who indicated the presence of new food allergy symptoms since wave 1 were offered a food challenge
Wave 3 – data collected from whole sample (questionnaire and allergy assessment – Royal Children’s Hospital or home visit). In addition, anyone food allergic when last seen, had a positive SPT in wave 3 or who indicated the presence of new food allergy symptoms since last seen were offered a food challenge.

In the below tables:
(a) – data collected for whole sample
(b) – data collected for clinic/food challenge subsample

Melbourne Children’s Consortium for Lifecourse Research Study Summary
Study name HealthNuts
Primary Institution Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Study website
Collaborating Institutions The Royal Children’s Hospital
The University of Melbourne
Current principal investigator Professor Katie Allen
Sampling frame Local immunisation centre when child was around 12 months of age
Year commenced 2007
Commencement sample (N) : 5,300
Annual attrition 19% at age of 4 years (N = 4289, 81.3%)
Imaging (fMRI, Ultrasound, etc): NO
Intergenerational (e.g. offspring)? NO
Linkage (BioGrid, VPCDU, NAPLAN) etc? School Entrant Health Questionnaire database – consent for linkage in progress
Medicare – collection to occur in 2016
Biosamples Blood, saliva: at age 1, 2 ,4, 6 yrs on a subset
Newborn screening (Guthrie) card – blood sample: on whole cohort
Number of waves 3
Key reference: Osborne, N.J., Koplin, J.J., Martin, P.E., Gurrin, L.C., Thiele, L., Tang, M.L., Ponsonby, A-L., Dharmage, S.C. and Allen, K.J., for HealthNuts Study Investigators. (2010). The HealthNuts population-based study of paediatric food allergy: validity, safety and acceptability. Clin Exp Allergy, 40(10): 1516-22

HealthNuts Study

Gastro and Food Allergy

Royal Children’s Hospital
Flemington Rd, Parkville
VIC 3052
Ph: +61 3 8341 6266