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.

Participants who were food allergic at wave 1 food challenge or who indicated the presence of new food allergy symptoms since wave 1 were invited to participate in the clinical sub-sample, which included food challenge assessments (study and substudy waves included in table below)


Study name HealthNuts
Current principal investigator/s Rachel Peters
Postal address HealthNuts Study, Gastro and Food Allergy, MCRI, Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC 3052
Phone +613 8341 6266
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 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. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2010.03562.x
Are data available to others outside study team? Yes, on request, with provision of an analysis plan and approval from investigator group.
Study focus 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.
Year commenced 2007
Commencement sample 5300 
Annual attrition rate 19% at age 4 years 
Intergenerational? No 
Imaging No 
Linkage School Entrant Health Questionnaire
Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
Biosamples? Blood
Newborn Screening (Guthrie) card
Ethics approval This project only (Specific consent)
Future research related to this project (Extended consent)
Any future research (Unspecified consent)


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1  2007 – 2010 1 year (12.6 months)

5300 (whole cohort)
1026 (clinic/food challenge)

2a  2011 – 2014 4 years

4289 (81.3%) (whole cohort)
540 (clinic/food challenge)

2b  2011-2014 4 years


3a  2013-2016 6 years

To be determined (ongoing) (whole cohort)
300 (clinic/food challenge)

3b  2013-2016 6 years

To be determined (ongoing) (whole cohort)
300 (clinic/food challenge)

4a  2016-2020 10 years


4b  2016-2020 10 years


5  2022-ongoing 15 years

In progress


Substudy COVID Immune

Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
Substudy: COVID Immune (Baseline)  2020 10-14 years


Substudy; COVID Immune (Follow-up)  2022-ongoing 11-15 years

In progress