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Obesity is a major factor influencing the burden of disease globally. We investigate the impact of obesity on health and on the healthcare system across a range of diseases. Our research into diet and nutrition assesses the environmental determinants of dietary behaviour and models and evaluates population based interventions, such as food labelling and so-called junk food taxes, which aim to promote healthier eating.

Belly of obese man

Overweight and obesity have a major impact on rates of hospital admission for a wide range of conditions including joint replacements, heart disease and less obvious diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

In the Cancer Epidemiology Unit (CEU), the EPIC cohort focuses on diet and its effect on cancer risk, and we are also looking at diet and disease risk in the Million Women Study and in UK Biobank. These studies, particularly for prostate cancer, include measures of hormones and of biochemical and genetic factors which may mediate or interact with the effects of diet. 

Our diet and food groups model the relationship between dietary change and health outcomes and studies the effects of the marketing of foods, food labelling, and fiscal interventions. The LEAP project explores the health and environmental impacts of global consumption of animal-sourced foods and the effect of interventions designed to change consumption of such foods. The Evaluation of the UK Sugar Drink Levy investigates the health impact of the new UK tax on sugary drinks.

Research groups working in this area