The 3D Study


The “3D" Study is so named because seeing something in three dimensions adds clarity. In this case, it refers to the 3D’s of Diet, after Diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes.


The “3D" Study is a prospective, observational case-series cohort study of 225 Australian adults with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. In 2018, Diabetes Australia worked with Healthy Primary Care to recruit a randomly invited sample of adults who were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the previous six months.

The 3D Study uses an observational approach to provide a detailed, quantitative understanding of participants’ diet changes in the 12 months following diagnosis. Demographic, anthropometric, physical activity, mental health, health professional interaction frequency and satisfaction and pathology data were also collected. The study has five data collection points spaced three months apart (see Figure 1)

Figure 1.


  1. Identify associations between glycaemic control and diet quality in the 12 months following T2D diagnosis
  2. Describe diet quality changes in the 12 months following diagnosis, and
  3. Identify the demographic, physical and psychosocial predictors of sustained improvements in diet quality and glycaemic control in the 12 months following diagnosis.


Improving the diet quality of individuals newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes leads to a reduced risk of complications, regardless of medication use. However, previous research has shown that when individuals are diagnosed with T2D, they receive considerable amounts of conflicting dietary advice. This results in patients feeling overwhelmed and confused about which foods to eat. 

Many individuals report that, over time, they return to eating the foods they did before their diagnosis, while other say they sustained improvements in their diet quality. It's unclear what extent individuals change their diet after diagnosis, and why some people can continue these changes over time, but not others. Is it essential to understand this area of research in order to develop strategies that can support all individuals to have success in improving their diet quality and help reduce the risk of complications. 


Registration and ethics approval:

The 3D Study is registered with Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials (ANZCTR) (ref: CTRN12618000375257) and has been approved by the Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee (ref: 2017/951).



Healthy Primary Care welcomes potential collaborators and researchers form all disciplines to access our data.

Permission to use the data must be obtained from the Data Access Committee of The 3D Study. 

Please complete the 3D Experssion of Interest Form and email it to Associate Professor Lauren Ball.


1. Burch E, Williams LT, Makepeace H, Alston-Knox C, Ball L. How Does Diet Change with A Diagnosis of Diabetes? Protocol of the 3D Longitudinal Study.Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 158;

2. Burch E, Ball L, Somerville M, Williams LT. Dietary intake by food group of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2018, 137:2018, 160-172.