Helen has over 25 years experience as a Sports Dietitian.
She currently consults to the NSW Institute of Sport and has been the Dietitian to the Bulldogs Rugby League since 1990. In addition to her extensive experience as a Sports Dietitian, Helen is also a senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Sydney where she teaches public health and sports nutrition to exercise science and nutrition and dietetic students. Helen is actively involved in research and has a special interest in energy metabolism, body composition and weight management. She is an accrediting practicing Dietitian (APD) a fellow of Sports Dietitians Australia and a level 3 anthropometrist with the International Society of Kinanthropometry (ISAK).
Helen initially commenced her career in clinical dietetics at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital then completed her PhD in the area of metabolism and obesity in the Department of Endocrinology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney. In addition to extensive experience in the area of weight management she also has vast experience as a Sports Dietitian, consulting with many elite athletes including world boxing champion Kostya Tszyu. She also worked for over 15 years with the Sydney Swans as their consultant dietitian.
Helen was the inaugural president of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) and was part of the team reviewing the menu and organising a nutrition information kiosk for the 2000 Olympic games. She has involvement with menu development and research at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and recently in Delhi 2010. In 2000, Helen was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services in sports nutrition and in 2005 a fellowship with Sports Dietitians Australia. In addition to numerous scientific papers and book chapters, Helen has published six lay books in sports nutrition.
Personally, Helen studied classical ballet until her early 20’s and attained the Royal Academy of Dancing advanced level. She was a qualified ballet teacher and taught ballet throughout her early years at university. Helen was also an A grade squash player, aerobics instructor and recreational runner.
Bachelor of Science (University of NSW)
Post Graduate Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics (University of Sydney)
Doctor of Philosophy (University of Sydney)
Level 3 Anthropometrist, International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry.
Professional Affiliations and Memberships
Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA)
Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) – Fellow
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity (ASSO)
Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport (PINES)
Recent Publications (2010-11)
Pelly, F. O’Connor, H.T, Denyer, G., Caterson, I. Evolution of athlete food provision at the summer Olympic Games: an historical perspective. Nutrition Reviews (in press)
O’Connor, H.T., Munas, Z., Griffin, H., Rooney, K., Cheng, H., Steinbeck, K. Nutritional adequacy of energy restricted diets for young women. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (in press)
Dolan, E., O’Connor, H.T, Werrington, G. (2010). Nutrition, lifestyle and weight control practices of elite jockeys. Journal of Sport Science (in press).
Temesi, J., Johnson, N., Raymond, J., Burdon, C., O’Connor, H.T. Performance benefit of carbohydrate ingestion during endurance exercise performance: a systematic review and meta analysis. Journal of Nutrition, May 2011 (available on-line)
Christopher P. Herrera, Keir Smith, Fiona Atkinson, Patricia Ruell, Chin Moi Chow, Helen O'Connor and Jennie Brand-Miller (2011). High-glycaemic index and -glycaemic load meals increase the availability of tryptophan in healthy volunteers. British Journal of Nutrition, February 2011 (available on-line)
Slater, G., O’Connor, H.T., Pelly, F. Physique assessment of athletes: concepts, methods and applications. In Wolinski 2nd eds. Nutritional Assessment of Athletes.CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton Florida, 2011
Burdon, C., O’Connor, H.T, Gifford, J., Chapman, P., Shirreffs, S.M. (2010) Influence of Beverage Temperature on Thermoregulation on Cycling Performance in the Heat. Journal of Sport Science, 29(11): 1147-1156.
O’Connor, H.T., Caterson, I.D. (2010) Weight loss and the athlete.
Burke L. & Deakin V. eds. In Clinical Sports Nutrition 4th ed , pp 116-148,
Burdon, C.A., O’Connor, H.T., Gifford, J.A. & Shirreffs, S.M. (2010) Influence of beverage temperature on exercise performance in the heat: a systematic review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. 20(2), 166-174
Heaney, S., O’Connor, H., Gifford, J., Naughton, J. (2010). Comparison of strategies for assessing nutritional adequacy in elite female International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 20(3): 245-256.
Temesi, J., Rooney, K., Raymond, J., O’Connor, H.T (2010). Effect of carbohydrate ingestion on exercise performance in persons with spinal cord injury. European Journal of Applied Physiology 108 (1): 131-140.
The impact of beverage temperature on thermoregulation and exercise performance in the heat
Development of an electronic tool to screen for nutrition risk in elite athletes
Measurement and impact of nutrition knowledge in athletes on dietary intake and eating