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

Study Summary
Study name HealthNuts
Study abbreviation HealthNuts
Current principal investigator/s Dr Jennifer Koplin
Primary Institution Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Collaborating Institution/s The Royal Children’s Hospital
The University of Melbourne
Major funding sources National Health and Medical Research Council
IIhan Food Allergy Foundation
Australian Egg Corporation Pty.
US Department of Defense
Study website
Key reference for study (published study protocol) 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
Are data available to others outside study team? Yes, on request, with provision of an analysis plan and approval from investigator group.
Study focus (e.g. social development) Understanding the natural history of allergic disorders including food allergy, asthma, eczema and hay fever.
Sampling frame 12-month-old infants presenting for routine scheduled vaccination at local government-led immunisation clinics across Melbourne, Australia.
Study type (e.g. randomised control trial, cohort, case-control) Longitudinal cohort study
Year commenced 2007
Ongoing recruitment? No
Commencement sample (N) 5300
Intergenerational (e.g. offspring)? No
Imaging (e.g. fMRI, ultrasound, retinal photograph)? No
Linkage (e.g. BioGrid, VPDC, NAPLAN, Medicare)? School Entrant Health Questionnaire
Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
Biosamples (e.g. buccal, blood, hair)? Blood
Newborn Screening (Guthrie) card
Ethics approvals or requirements (e.g. specific, extended, unspecified, other)? This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)
Any future research (Unspecified consent)
Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample (not deceased, not withdrawn)
2007 – 2010 1 year (12.6 months) 5300 (whole cohort)
1026 (clinic/food challenge)
2011 – 2014 4 years 4289 (81.3%) (whole cohort)
540 (clinic/food challenge)
2013 – ongoing 6 years To be determined (ongoing) (whole cohort)
300 (clinic/food challenge)

HealthNuts Study

Gastro and Food Allergy

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