Ms Thea Werkhoven

PhD, APD, AN
Lecturer in Nutrition

A35 - Education Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone 9351 6260

Biographical details

Doctor Thea Werkhoven is a teaching focused academic, lecturing in nutrition at the University of Sydney. Having started at the University in 2011, she now coordinates and teaches a large scale elective open to students University-wide.

Qualified as a nutritionist and dietitian, Thea has been an accredited member of the Dietitian's Association of Australia since 2008. After completing her Bachelor of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) at the University of Sydney, Thea worked in a range of dietetic roles including industry, private practice and volunteering her time to Nutrition organisations such as Nutrition Australia. Thea's research and professional interests lie in chronic diesease prevention and the importance of nutrition knowledge for the general population.

As of 2018, Thea graduated with her Degree in Philosophy after completing her thesis titled "The use of a higher education intervention to modify the level of nutrition knowledge, degree of weight bias and general obesity awareness among pre-service professionals". As a thesis by publication, four of the chapters of the document were published prior to completion in peer reviewed journals in the field of obesity and education.

Research interests

Thea's interest is chronic disease prevention and treatment in Australian youth and adults. More specifically, the societal attitudes towards chronic disease states and the impedence that this can form towards treating or educating individuals who suffer from them and the roles of educators and professionals in treating chronic disease.
As part of her doctoral research project, Thea looked at:
  • Origin and dissemination of weight based attitudes amongst health professionals and educators and the effect that these attitudes have on overweight and obese youth.
  • The importance of accurate nutrition knowledge on weight based attitudes and fat stereotyping.
  • Holistic approaches to health including, Health At Every Size and Fitness not Fatness.
  • Use of technology in tertiary education and successfully engaging students for long term knowledge acquisition and retention.

At the conclusion of the study, the intervention that Thea designed was found to successfully improve nutrition and obesity knowledge and to have a moderate effect on decreasing weight stigma. The need for future research is recognised, looking into the impact of an intervention long-term on education or health counselling and the retention of knowlede.

Teaching and supervision

EDUH4054 - Issues in Nutrition Education elective, Lecturer and tutor
Faculty of Education & Social Work

2011: Semester 2 (co-lecturer)
2012: Semester 2
2013: Semester 1

EDGU1003 - Diet and Nutrition for Health and Sport elective, Course coordinator, lecturer and tutor
Sydney School of Education & Social Work

2014: Semester 2 (advisor role)

2015: Summer School Program, Semesters 1 and 2

2016: Summer School Program, Semesters 1 and 2

2017: Summer School Program, Winter School program and Semesters 1 and 2

2018: Summer School Program, Winter intensive and Semesters 1 and 2

Honours co-supervisorship

In 2016 I co-supervised within the undergraduate Honours program offererd in the Faculty, working to provide assistance with submission of research proposals, the completion of ethics applications and resulting data collection. The student went on to be awarded the Univeristy Medal.

Associations

Professional member of the Dietitian's Association of Australia.

Consultant dietitian for Diabetic Living Magazine (Pacific Magazines).

Awards and honours

Winner of the Best Research Paper Award, June 2016 for the paper titled 'The necessity of addressing the nutrition knowledge and health related attitudes held by pre-service professionals'.

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Journals

  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Dudley, D. (2018). Australian tertiary students' attitudes towards youth obesity in educational institutions. European Physical Education Review, 24(2), 181-193. [More Information]
  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Dudley, D. (2016). Narrative review of pedagogical interventions on nutrition knowledge and weight prejudice. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1-12. [More Information]
  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Russell, K. (2015). Weight based stereotyping amongst pre-service health and physical educators. International Journal of e-Healthcare Information Systems (IJe-HIS), 2(1), 31-38. [More Information]
  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Russell, K. (2014). Pre-service health and physical education teachers' obesity-related nutrition knowledge and food habits. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia, 21(3), 2-11.

2018

  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Dudley, D. (2018). Australian tertiary students' attitudes towards youth obesity in educational institutions. European Physical Education Review, 24(2), 181-193. [More Information]

2016

  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Dudley, D. (2016). Narrative review of pedagogical interventions on nutrition knowledge and weight prejudice. Cogent Education, 3(1), 1-12. [More Information]

2015

  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Russell, K. (2015). Weight based stereotyping amongst pre-service health and physical educators. International Journal of e-Healthcare Information Systems (IJe-HIS), 2(1), 31-38. [More Information]

2014

  • Werkhoven, T., Cotton, W., Russell, K. (2014). Pre-service health and physical education teachers' obesity-related nutrition knowledge and food habits. Journal of the Home Economics Institute of Australia, 21(3), 2-11.

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