Dana Olstad

Assistant Professor

Community Health Sciences

PhD Nutrition and Metabolism

University of Alberta, 2009

Public Health Registered Dietitian

University of Alberta, 2002

Contact information


Office: 403.210.8673

Web presence

Lab website


HSOC 301, September to December 2019

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Nutrition, Healthy public policy, Dietary patterns
  • Health equity, Socioeconomic inequities, Food environments
  • Health promotion, Public health, Mixed methods
  • Chronic disease prevention, Obesity prevention


Dr. Dana Olstad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, and holds Adjunct academic appointments in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary and in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.  She is also a Registered Dietitian.  Her primary expertise encompasses public health nutrition. 

Socioeconomically disadvantaged groups have poorer dietary patterns than their more advantaged counterparts, and these differences have negative health consequences.  As a public health nutrition scholar, Dr. Olstad’s research program aims to understand the reasons for these dietary and health differences from a social determinants of health perspective, and the role of policy in this respect.  A social determinants of health perspective acknowledges that the contexts within which individuals live, grow and work shapes their dietary patterns and health outcomes.  A priority of her research is therefore to understand how policy can be used to improve the conditions of daily life to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances, have the same opportunity to enjoy healthful foods and good health. Dr. Olstad’s research extends across the lifecourse to understand how conditions and policies at all stages of life shape health behaviours and health outcomes. She uses quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods to study real-world programs and policies in real-life contexts.


1. Olstad DL, Campbell NRC, Raine KD. Diet quality in Canada: Toward policy solutions for equity. Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) 119 :E100-E102, 2019. IF 6.784. 
2. Faught EL, McLaren L, Kirkpatrick SI, Hammond D, Minaker LM, Raine KD, Olstad DL. Socioeconomic disadvantage across the life course is associated with diet quality in young adulthood. Nutrients 11:242, 2019. IF 4.603.
3. Kupis J, Johnson S, Hallihan G, Olstad DL. Assessing the usability of the Automated Self-Administered Dietary Assessment Tool (ASA24) among low-income adults. Nutrients 11:132, 2019. IF 4.603
4. Olstad DL, Leech R, Livingstone K, Ball K, Thomas B, Potter J, Cleanthous X, Reynolds R, McNaughton SA. Are dietary inequalities among Australian adults changing?  A nationally representative analysis of dietary change according to socioeconomic position between 1995 and 2011-13. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 15:30-49, 2018.  IF 5.548. 
5. Olstad DL, Crawford D, Abbott G, McNaughton SA, Le HND, Ni Mhurchu C, Pollard C, Ball K. The impact of financial incentives on participants’ food purchasing patterns in a supermarket-based randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14:115, 2017. IF 5.548. 
6. Olstad DL, Ancilotto R, Teychenne M, Minaker LM, Taber DR, Raine KD, Nykiforuk CIJ, Ball K.  Can targeted policies reduce obesity and improve obesity-related behaviours in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations? A systematic review. Obesity Reviews 18(7):791-807, 2017. IF 8.483. 
7. Olstad DL, Lamb K, Thornton L, McNaughton SA, Crawford DC, Minaker L, Ball K.  Prospective associations between diet quality and body mass index in disadvantaged women: the Resilience for Eating and Activity Despite Inequality (READI) study.  International Journal of Epidemiology 46(5):1433-1443, 2017. IF 8.848. 
8. Lamb K, Olstad DL, Nguyen C, Milte C, McNaughton S.  Missing data in FFQs: making assumptions about item non-response.  Public Health Nutrition 20(6):965-970, 2017.  IF 2.679. 
9. Livingstone K, Olstad DL, Leech R, Ball K, Thomas B, Potter J, Cleanthous X, Reynolds R, McNaughton S. Socioeconomic inequalities in diet quality and nutrient intakes among Australian adults: Findings from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. Nutrients 9:1092, 2017. IF 4.603. 
10. Olstad DL, Teychenne M, Minaker LM, Taber DR, Raine KD, Nykiforuk CIJ, Ball K. Can policy ameliorate socioeconomic inequities in obesity and obesity-related behaviours? A systematic review of the impact of universal policies on adults and children.  Obesity Reviews 17:1198-1217, 2016. IF 8.483. 
11. Olstad DL, Ball K, Wright C, Abbott G, Brown E, Turner A. Hair cortisol levels, perceived stress and body mass index in women and children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods: The READI study. Stress 19(2): 158-167, 2016. IF 2.715. 
12. Olstad DL, Ball K, Abbott G, McNaughton SA, Le HND, Ni Mhurchu C, Pollard C, Crawford D. A process evaluation of the Supermarket Healthy Eating for Life randomized controlled trial.  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 13:27, 2016. IF 5.548. 


Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award in Community Health, 2019; Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Early Career Researcher Invited Keynote Presentation, 2018; International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting, Hong Kong

Early Career Researcher Award, 2015; Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society