Professor Jennie Macdiarmid

Professor Jennie Macdiarmid
BSc (Hons), PhD

Professor in Sustainable Nutrition and Health

Professor Jennie Macdiarmid
Professor Jennie Macdiarmid

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437125
fax +44 (0)1224 550925
The University of Aberdeen Polwarth Building 1.073 University Medical School Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD



Jennie is a Professor in Sustainable Nutrition and Health. Her current research focuses on food security and the impact of dietary patterns on climate change, in particular understanding how to shift to dietary intakes to those that are healthier, more environmentally sustainable and acceptable to the population. She leads a large multi-disciplinary research team, with international collaborations, to address important questions in food security.

Jennie graduated from the University of Surrey with a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and Food Science, during which she spent a year working at one of the CSIRO research laboratories in Melbourne, Australia. After graduating she worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Food Research (Norwich) and the University of Dundee (Psychology dept) to research eating behaviours, in particular related to chocolate. In 1997 she completed her PhD at the University of Leeds (Psychology dept) on the characteristics of high and low fat consumers. She spent 18 months working for the International Obesity Task Force, based at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen. In 1999 she moved to the University of Aberdeen Medical School to run a project studying the long-term health effects of professional diving. In 2006 she joined the Public Health Nutrition Research groups at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen, where she is currently a senior research fellow. 


Research Interests

Dietary patterns and climate change (healthy and environmentally sustainable diets)

Modelling the environmental impact of food choices and dietary intakes

Understanding dietary behaviours and food choices


Current Research

1.   Dietary behaviours and habits in the context of shifting to sustainable diets with complex social systems (e.g. agent-based modelling).

2.  Defining healthy and environmentally sutainable diet for climate change mitigation and land use (UK and India).

3.  DEVIL - Developing Food Security on Limited Land (Belmont Forum/FACCE-JPI project).

4.  Concept mapping: development of nutrition related policy and interventions.

5. Non-price determinants of food choices.



London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (Wellcome grant). 

University of Dundee, UK.

DEVIL project - international collaboration (USA, Australia, Brazil, India, Switzerland, South Africa, France)

James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, UK

Research Grants

Wellcome Trust (2014-16) Health and environmental implications of low-carbon, climate-change resilient diets in India. A collaboration led by The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  £211,673.  

Belmont Forum/FACCE-JPI International Collaborative Research Funding (2015-2019). DEVIL (Delivering Food Security on Limited Land), International multidisciplinary partnership (8 countries). Led by University of Aberdeen. 1608K€

Food Standards Agency Scotland (2012-13) Estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions of the Eatwell week. Aberdeen University. £6,361.

WWF-UK 2010, Livewell project: A balance of healthy and sustainable food choices. £17,000 Kyle J, Macdiarmid JI., McNeill G,

Food Standards Agency Scotland, 2010-2011. £468,204. Survey of diet, influences on food choices and eating practices among children in Scotland in 2010. Masson L, McNeill G, Macdiarmid JI, Craig L, Bromley C.

Food Standards Agency Scotland, 2007-2008. £69,040  Secondary Analysis of the Survey of Sugar Intake among Children in Scotland 2006. McNeill G, Masson L, Craig L, Macdiarmid JI, Holmes B.

Scottish Government (Rural and Environment Research Analysis Directorate), 2009-12 (£1.4M) Environmental Determinants of Public Health in Scotland  (EDPHiS) Obesity case study. McNeill G, Macdiarmid JI, Reilly JJ, Semple S, Ellaway A, Cowie H.

Health and Safety Executive 2003. Identification of factors affecting quality of life in divers and offshore workers. Ross JAS, Osman LO, Watt SJ, Crawford J, Macdiarmid JI, Taylor CL.

Health and Safety Executive 2002.Attitudes to safety culture among divers and offshore work. Ross JAS, Osman LO, Macdiarmid JI, Watt SJ.


Teaching Responsibilities

MSc Human Nutrition & Metabolism (University of Aberdeen)

Sixth Century Course on World Food (University of Aberdeen)

MSc Food Security (University of Edinburgh)

MSc Human Nutrition (University of Glasgow)

BSc Nutrition (specialist short course at University of Malta)

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Daniel & Nicole Carasso Foundation International Scientific Committee (2012-present)

BBSRC Global Food Security Public Panel Steering Committee (2014-present)

PhD Students

Lucy Sam (2016-present) Investigation of domestic food practices and routines, and their determinants.

Charlotte Hall (2014-present) Environmental consequences of delivering food security.

Renaud Heckle (2014-present) Constraints and opportunities to integrate beekeeping into mixed farming in Sub-Saharan countries.

Henri de Ruiter (2013- present) Implications of meeting a healthy diet for sustainable land use.

Liam McMorrow (2012-present) An economic analysis of food choice and its associations with health inequalities.

Tania Griffin (2007-2011) SNAK: educational intervention to improve the knowledge of non-milk extrinsic sugars and energy balance among children aged 11-12 years.



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Contributions to Journals


  • Whybrow, S., Craig, LCA. & Macdiarmid, J. 'Dietary patterns of households in Scotland: differences by level of deprivation and associations with dietary goals'. Nutrition and Health, pp. 1-7.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1177/0260106017745389
    [Online] AURA: PCA_healthy_diets_N_H.pdf
  • Joy, EJM., Green, R., Agrawal, S., Aleksandrowicz, L., Bowen, L., Kinra, S., Macdiarmid, JI., Haines, A. & Dangour, AD. (2017). 'Dietary patterns and non-communicable disease risk in Indian adults: secondary analysis of Indian Migration Study data'. Public Health Nutrition, vol 20, no. 11, pp. 1963-1972.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/S1368980017000416
    [Online] AURA: Dietary_patterns_and_non_communicable_disease_risk_in_Indian...
  • Mc Morrow, L., Ludbrook, A., Macdiarmid, JI. & Olajide, D. (2017). 'Perceived barriers towards healthy eating and their association with fruit and vegetable consumption'. Journal of Public Health, vol 39, no. 2, pp. 330-338.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw038
    [Online] AURA: Published_JPH_Paper.pdf
  • Duthie, SJ., Duthie, GG., Russell, WR., Kyle, JAM., Macdiarmid, JI., Rungapamestry, V., Stephen, S., Megias-Baeza, C., Kaniewska, JJ., Shaw, L., Milne, L., Bremner, D., Ross, K., Morrice, P., Pirie, LP., Horgan, G. & Bestwick, CS. 'Effect of increasing fruit and vegetable intake by dietary intervention on nutritional biomarkers and attitudes to dietary change: a randomised trial'. European Journal of Nutrition, pp. 1-18.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1007/s00394-017-1469-0
    [Online] AURA: art_3A10.1007_2Fs00394_017_1469_0.pdf
  • Whybrow, S., Horgan, GW. & Macdiarmid, JI. (2017). 'Buying less and wasting less food. Changes in household food energy purchases, energy intakes and energy density between 2007 and 2012 with and without adjustment for food waste'. Public Health Nutrition, vol 20, no. 7, pp. 1248-1256.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/S1368980016003256
    [Online] AURA: Bristol_paper_accepted.pdf
  • McNeill, G., Masson, LF., Macdiarmid, JI., Craig, LCA., Wills, WJ. & Bromley, C. (2017). 'Socio-economic differences in diet, physical activity and leisure-time screen use among Scottish children in 2006 and 2010: are we closing the gap?'. Public Health Nutrition, vol 20, no. 6, pp. 951-958.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1017/S1368980016002949
    [Online] AURA: socioeconomic_differences_in_diet_physical_activity_and_leis...
  • De Ruiter, HR., Macdiarmid, JI., Matthews, RB., Kastner, T., Lynd, LR. & Smith, P. (2017). 'Total global agricultural land footprint associated with UK food supply 1986–2011'. Global Environmental Change, vol 43, pp. 72-81.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.01.007
  • Whybrow, S., Hollis, JL. & Macdiarmid, JI. 'Social deprivation is associated with poorer adherence to healthy eating dietary goals: analysis of household food purchases'. Journal of Public Health, pp. 1-8.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdx007
  • Vetter, SH., Sapkota, TB., Hillier, J., Stirling, CM., Macdiarmid, JI., Aleksandrowicz, L., Green, R., Joy, EJM., Dangour, AD. & Smith, P. (2017). 'Greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural food production to supply Indian diets: Implications for climate change mitigation'. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, vol 237, pp. 234-241.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.12.024
    [Online] AURA: 1_s2.0_S0167880916306065_main.pdf
  • Hall, C., Dawson, TP., Macdiarmid, JI., Matthews, RB. & Smith, P. (2017). 'The impact of population growth and climate change on food security in Africa: looking ahead to 2050'. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, vol 15, no. 2, pp. 124-135.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1080/14735903.2017.1293929
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