DR MELISSA WHITELAW
PhD, APD, CEDC
Melissa enjoys working with adolescents and their nutritional issues across a range of clinical conditions. These include weight and growth concerns, eating disorders, weight management, vegetarian diets, fussy eating, and gastrointestinal concerns (for example low FODMAP, low lactose, constipation, coeliac disease). She also provides education and dietary analysis for adolescents when they would like to understand more about nutritional adequacy for their stage of life and activity level.
Background and Experience
Melissa brings extensive experience in working with adolescents, as a former physical education teacher for more than 20 years before a career change to become a paediatric dietitian. Melissa was the lead dietitian for the Department of Adolescent Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital for 18 years and since 2005 has worked in private practice. She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2019. Her doctoral thesis investigated the clinical course of adolescents diagnosed with anorexia nervosa compared to adolescents who despite significant weight loss were not sufficiently underweight to meet diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa. Her international peer reviewed publications were the first to describe the clinical and psychological severity of atypical anorexia nervosa. A restrictive eating disorder that can be overlooked; despite weight loss in children and adolescents who are not underweight. Melissa authored a book chapter about nutrition in male eating disorders, has presented at international conferences including a plenary at the International Eating Disorders Conference (USA), presents to school groups and lectures health professionals. She is a Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician and provides supervision for practising dietitians.
Melissa strives to provide the highest quality, evidence based practice for all her patients and their families. She promotes a positive relationship with food and body image. She encourages a healthy lifestyle with advice about physical activity, screen time and enjoyment of good nutritional choices. Melissa is passionate about providing sensible nutrition advice for adolescents in a world of confusion regarding inappropriate information about nutrition and fads that are currently so pervasive across the range of media.
Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, tries to stay fit, enjoys reading and is learning to play the cello.