Research at Leeds Beckett
About Meaghan Christian
Meaghan's research interest is in dietary assessment and development of nutrition promoting interventions in families. Since 2006 she has been working on research to improve children’s diets with a focus on intervention research from large RCT’s conducted in the UK.
Her PhD titled “Can A School Gardening Intervention Improve Children’s Diets?” has involved managing two parallel randomised controlled trials (RCT) based in London devised to evaluate a school gardening intervention, to determine if it has an effect on children’s fruit and vegetable intake. The intervention was run by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Her trial work has provided Meaghan with vast experience in conducting statistical analysis, exploring not only the primary outcome, but also evaluation of the intervention and process evaluation. Process evaluations are used to improve the understanding of successful or unsuccessful health interventions; to identify the key components that make an intervention successful, for boys, girls or both; and to determine which environments/conditions lead to these particular components facilitating a successful outcome. She has also been involved in developing novel tools to assess intervention work in this age group. As part of her PhD, Meaghan modified the Child And Diet Evaluation Tool (CADET) diary, a 24-hour food questionnaire that measures dietary intake.
In October 2012, Meaghan started working at Leeds Beckett University as a Research Fellow on a feasibility trial evaluating a healthy eating and physical activity intervention - PhunkyFoods, and developed a Health Eating Knowledge Questionnaire and conducted a validation study. She understands the importance of having quality questionnaires to evaluate public health interventions and the skills necessary to analyse all aspects of children’s diets to identify significant links to improve diet quality in children and adolescence.