The Perfect Balance – Dr Adam Walsh

This blog features  Adam Walsh a researcher and lecturer from the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences.

Adam is the deputy course director for the Master of Dietetics course. His research focuses on paternal influences on the dietary and physical activity behaviours of children less than five years of age.

Adam has been invited to share his journey.


Finding the right career path

An extended gap year (5 years to be accurate) after I completed year 12 had me working in a number of industries to figure out exactly what kind of career I wanted.  Over this time, I developed a love for nutrition and activity.  I decided a career in nutrition and dietetics was for me and so I headed off to Victoria University as a mature age student to complete my undergraduate in sports science (or Human Movement as it was back then).  I was the only ‘jock’ attending biochem lectures whilst all my fellow sports science peers were attending sailing camps!  During my undergraduate degree I volunteered as a casual research assistant (RA) in the area of exercise physiology and had a fantastic mentor who, above all else, had faith in my ability to realise my aspirations.  Most of the RA work I did involved kids and it was this work that developed my interest in working with children.  It also sparked an interest in conducting research but I put this on the back-burner as I went on to complete my Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sydney University. 

A clinical dietitian and academic

I returned to Melbourne to work for a short time in adult dietetics, before securing a clinical position at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). I worked at the Royal Children’s for nearly seven years with my final year there being part-time while I took a part-time maternity leave position at Deakin in the dietetics course.  I was heavily involved in dietetic student supervision for clinical placements and so the leap to education wasn’t a huge one, but it was still different  – everyone was healthy for a start!

During my time at RCH, the one thing that struck me, more than anything, was that parents will do pretty much anything for their children.  This was a stark contrast to the adult health system, where adults would take or leave your advice depending on how they felt about it.  This got me thinking about the influence of parents on what kids eat and how they play (when they are healthy).  My part-time position at Deakin became a full-time position and a continuing role which gave me far more scope to explore my research interests and so I embarked on a PhD in the area of paternal influence on the dietary and physical activity behaviours of children under five years of age.  This was almost a dream come true, my PhD involved children, dads (which I had become for the second time not long before I joined Deakin) and involved both diet and physical activity, combining my two areas of education and expertise. 

Living the dream

It’s been nearly 12 years at Deakin now.  I teach into both the undergraduate nutrition degree and post-graduate dietetics and I am continuing my research post PhD, into fathers and their influences on young children’s dietary and physical activity behaviours.  I’ve been fortunate to develop a career in dietetics, in an area I truly enjoy.  Teaching future dietitians and researching the knowledge gaps about how dads influence their children, for me strikes the perfect balance.


Dr Adam Walsh

Lecturer in Nutrition & Dietetics
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Category list: Staff Profiles

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