Obesity Network Investigators

Professor Mark Birkin
Professor of Spatial Analysis and Policy and Director of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC)

Dr Michelle Morris
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Consumer Data Research Centre

Professor Steven Cummins
Professor of Population Health & NIHR Senior Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Pablo Monsivais
Programme lead – Dietary public health research, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge

Dr Claire Griffiths
Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University

Professor Jamie Pearce
Professor of Health Geography, Centre for Research on Environment Society and Health

Obesity Network Members

Dr Seraphim Alvanides

Seraphim is an urban social geographer, with expertise in quantitative methods and Geographical Information Systems and Science (GIS/Sc) at the University of Northumbria.View full profile.

Dr Maria Bryant

With a background in nutrition and psychology, Maria’s research focuses on aetiology and solutions to childhood obesity. As lead for the Diet and Obesity portfolio within the Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds, she is responsible for coordinating all projects related to the evaluation of obesity interventions and associated methodological research.
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Dr Thomas Burgoine

Thomas is a Career Development Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research.  His current research interests include the applications of novel quantitative methods, especially geographic information systems and advanced spatial statistics to the field of obesogenic environment studies; further understanding the role of neighbourhood food environments on diet and weight, and the interplay between environmental and individual determinants of health.
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Prof Janet Cade

Janet has led the Nutritional Epidemiology Group at the University of Leeds since 1994. It is a research-intensive group to create, advance and disseminate nutrition research to make an impact on population health. She has published around 250 papers, abstracts and book chapters and have generated over £6 million in research income (the majority as PI). The group has experience in working with large datasets in the area of obesity. They have developed a unique nutrient database including 45,000 food items using back of pack information and have developed both smartphone apps and a website to help people record their food and nutrient intake. In addition, they have undertaken the first trial of our smartphone app which successfully helped people to lose weight.
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Michael Chang

Michael Chang is Project and Policy Manager at the Town and Country Planning Association, and leads on its Planning and Health programme of projects and engagement with local authorities. The Planning and Health programme of projects seek to re-establish and strengthen working relationships between town planners and public health professionals with wider disciplines to help deliver local priorities on health and wellbeing through the planning process. It aims to identify key challenges and opportunities to help improve integration of the two disciplines through policy and practice. As part of the work, it seeks to identify key sources of evidence base which could be used and interpreted throughout the planning processes in a robustness way.

Prof Graham Clarke

Graham Clarke is Professor of Business Geography at the University of Leeds. He has worked extensively in various areas of GIS and applied spatial modelling, focusing on many applications within urban/social geography. A major research interest has been spatial modelling, especially spatial interaction modelling and microsimulation (especially for estimating small-area patterns of income and wealth, and in applications relating to retail, crime and health). Graham has also been very active in retail geography and model development in relation to retail store location planning. His major research interests relate to retail location planning in relation to the multi-channel growth strategies of retail organisations. This includes work on food deserts, retail saturation, e-commerce, the growth of discounters and convenience retailing.
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Dr Darren Dahly

Darren is a nutritional epidemiologist, with additional experience in biostatistics and health geography. He is   Senior Post-doctoral Researcher at UCC funded by an Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement award, investigating nutrition and health across the life course using a variety of Irish cohort studies. Darren also works internationally with a number of large cohort studies in Brazil, the Philippines, India, South Africa, and Guatemala.
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Prof Chris Dibben

Chris Dibben is the Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre for Scotland and the Longitudinal Studies Centre – Scotland. He is also the Chair in Geography at the University of Edinburgh and part of the Geography and the Lived Environment research institute. His research interests include poverty, deprivation and inequalities; evaluating area-based initiatives; small area statistics; risk, vulnerability and hazards. He has worked on, among other subjects: epidemiological studies into recovery after heart attacks; the causes of low birth weight; the survival of drug misusers; the impact of air pollution.
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Prof Adam Drewnowski

Dr. Adam Drewnowski is a world-renowned leader in the study of obesity and social disparities in diets and health.. He is Professor of Epidemiology and the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the School of Public Health. He is also the Director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research, which addresses the environmental, social and economic aspects of the obesity epidemic. Dr. Drewnowski is Adjunct Professor of Medicine and is a Joint Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
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Dr Kim Edwards

Kim’s research examines the association between physical activity and health. Examples of recent work include, investigating food outlet location and fast food consumption to obesity in children and adults; considering the relationship between physical activity, access to green spaces, and obesity; developing and piloting a new physical activity questionnaire for use in clinics; injury surveillance work for multi-day adventure races; examining physical activity levels in school children and the relationship with socio-economic group; describing the relationship between physical activity, asthma severity and quality of life; investigating the relationship between diet, and diet cost, and risk of breast cancer; examining the relationship between diet, physical activity and obesity in children using SenseCam. Kim also has an interest in spatial analyses techniques and in developing and testing spatial microsimulation models. She has applied these models to successfully estimate various data, including physical activity behaviour and adult obesity.
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Dr Ellen Flint

Ellen is a Lecturer and MRC Population Health Strategic Skills Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  A quantitative social scientist with a background in Geography, Demography and Social Epidemiology, her primary research interest is the relationship between active travel and obesity among working age adults in the UK.  She is currently undertaking analyses of large, longitudinal, secondary datasets (such as UK Biobank and the UK Household Longitudinal Study) to illuminate this relationship further. She has been involved with the evaluation of supermarket interventions to improve diet and reduce obesity in under-served, low-income urban areas.
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Anna Frearson

Anna Frearson is a Consultant in Public Health with over 20 years experience working as a public health professional for Local Government and in the NHS. As an accredited Leadership Coach she coaches individuals around leadership development, career progression, improving relationships, increasing confidence, managing stress and improving health and wellbeing.

Anna is currently a Consultant in Public Health at Leeds City Council her portfolio is focused on healthy lifestyles. Anna leads various programmes of work including tobacco, alcohol, adult obesity, food and physical activity. Anna is currently involved in a high profile “Health Breakthrough Project” which is aiming to develop an integrated system for healthy lifestyles in Leeds. The project involves recommissioning and redesigning services, aligning the services of partners across the city, utilising digital technology and is based around a person centred, solution focused health coaching approach.

Anna’s responsibilities also include:

  • Overseeing communication and social marketing campaigns for the public around healthy lifestyles.
  • Commissioning lifestyle services such as stop smoking, weight management.
  • Encouraging Leeds City Council Directorates to consider the positive impact that their services or policies could have on health e.g. Spatial Planning.

Prof Paul Gately

Paul Gately is Director of MoreLife and a Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett University, he is also a visiting professor in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London. His primary research interest is childhood obesity treatment strategies but also the wider determinants of obesity.  A spokesperson for the National Change4Life campaign, Paul has delivered over 450 presentations and scientific publications, as well as numerous policy documents on childhood obesity and physical activity promotion.  A member of the British Heart Foundation’s Prevention and Care Committee and Chairman of the National Obesity Forum for Yorkshire and Humber.
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Dr Mark Green

Mark Green is a Lecturer in Health Geography at the University of Liverpool. His research currently focuses on exploring the personal, behavioural and social characteristics which influence obesity and obesity-related behaviours, to develop effective interventions to encourage behaviour change. He is particularly interested in understanding how social inequalities in obesity become evident in society.

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Dr Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has substantial experience of developing and applying study design and statistical methodology to nutrition epidemiology. After graduating with a 1st class honours degree in mathematics, he completed a MSc in medical statistics and subsequently a PhD addressing statistical aspects of measurement error in nutrition. He has collaborated with nutritionists and dieticians on many obesity-related research projects, including evaluating the National Schools Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, several multicentre randomised controlled trials of interventions in school children, and has more recently conducted a large number of systematic reviews in the area.
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Dr Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson is a medical anthropologist, and currently works as a Lecturer and Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Public Policy and Health in the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health.  Dr Henderson has over 10 years experience lecturing, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has lectured in the field of anthropology, on topics of human ecology, nutrition ecology and research methods, including mixed methods.
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Dr Amelia Lake

Dr Amelia A Lake is a dietitian and public health nutritionist and works as a Lecturer in Knowledge Exchange in Public Health at Durham University and fuse the UKCRC centre for Translational Research. Amelia’s current work is to explore the Obesogenic Environment. Within a current National Institute for Health Research School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR) grant Amelia is lead a work package which used a range of innovative methods to map UK interventions in food outlets and recently lead an academic scoping exercise for Public Health England on ‘Work & Health & Wellbeing’.
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Dr Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis is a Research Fellow in the Department of Social and Environmental Health Research at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He has a BA in Geography from LSE, and an MSc in Geographic Information Science and PhD in Geography from UCL. Daniel works on the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) project, which aims to evaluate the impact of the Olympic legacy of urban regeneration on the health and wellbeing of young people and their parents in East London. Obesity and changes to diet and physical activity are of particular interest to this research project, particularly in light of changes in the availability of physical activity resources, regeneration of the built environment, and a local food environment that makes access to unhealthy choices a ubiquitous reality for many people.
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Dr Robin Lovelace

A geographer and environmental scientist by training, Robin’s work is roughly divided between methodological and applied research. He is developing new methods of ‘spatial microsimulation‘ that will make it easy to generate synthetic populations at the local level. This will be useful for transport planning and policy evaluation. He is a spatial data analyst and modeller.  My applied work focuses on energy use, transport modelling and scenarios of the future.
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Dr Nick Malleson

Nick is a lecturer in Geographical Information Systems and a member of the Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy (CSAP). His primary research interest is in developing spatial computer models of social phenomena with a particular focus on crime simulation.

Other main research interests include looking at how the spatial analysis (clustering methods, spatial statistics) of new forms of social data can influence research. We are currently exploring how geo-located Twitter data can be used to learn about social systems.
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Paul Niblett

Paul is a member of the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and is currently the section head in the lifestyles team within the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).  Paul’s responsibilities include publishing Official Statistics reports on smoking, alcohol, contraception and drugs as well as obesity.  Paul’s team collect and publish data from the National Child Management Programme as well as publishing survey data on obesity, physical activity and nutrition.  Paul has had a varied career in the GSS and has also worked for other Government Departments including education and work and pensions before joining the HSCIC.

Dr Duncan Radley

Dr Duncan Radley is a Senior Research Fellow in Physical Activity and Obesity at Leeds Beckett University. He has been involved in obesity research since the commencement of community-based child weight management interventions in the UK in 1999. He has unique experience in the field having held appointments in academia and as Research Manager for three of the UK’s leading weight management service providers (MoreLife, MEND and Mytime Active). Working in applied settings he has extensive knowledge beyond the literature understanding considerations for real world service provision implementation and evaluation. His published work and continued research interests focus on, whole systems approaches to obesity, community-based intervention evaluations (including the NIHR funded evaluation of the effectiveness of the UKs largest child weight management intervention), body composition methodologies, dietary manipulation, obesity prevalence and the obesogenic environment.

Prof Pinki Sahota

Pinki Sahota is Professor in Nutrition and Childhood Obesity within the Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University with 20 years of experience as a community dietitian within the NHS. She is the lead of the Nutrition and Childhood Obesity group and her research is focussed on the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions aimed at improving nutrition and prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.

Pinki is Chair of the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO), the UK’s foremost organisation dedicated to the understanding and treatment of obesity.
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Dr Niamh Shortt

Niamh is a Senior Lecturer in Health Geography and co-founder of the Centre for Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. Her research considers how the environment shapes our health, health behaviours and resulting health inequalities. She focuses on the effect of place and in particular the idea of the locale in which various aspects of the social and natural environment converge to influence health outcomes. Based on the premise that place matters for health, her research explores a wide range of area effects and considers the implications for health.
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Dr Ian Shuttleworth

A graduate of the University of Leicester and Trinity College Dublin, Ian Shuttleworth has worked in Northern Ireland since 1990. He was appointed to a lectureship in Human Geography in QUB in 1993 and still researches and teaches there. He is currently Director of the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study Research Support Unit (NILS-RSU), and is also involved with ADRC-NI and the Leeds CDRC. His current research interests include migration, religious identity, health, active travel and commuting, and the use of linked administrative data for research and statistical purposes.
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Prof Jaap Siedell

Prof. Jacob (Jaap) C. Seidell (PhD) is professor of Nutrition and Health, and director of the Institute for Health Sciences at the School of Health & Life Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit and the VUA, the Netherlands. He is also scientific director of the Research Center on Obesity Prevention Zwolle (OPOZ), board member of the Information Center for Overweight (KCO), chairman of the Partnership Overweight Netherlands (PON), chairman of the scientific advisory board of the European EPODE Network and chairman of the scientific committee of the Choices Foundation (on food labelling and nutrient profiling).
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Prof Alex Singleton

Alex Singleton is a Professor of Geographic Information Science at the University of Liverpool, where he was appointed as a Lecturer in 2010. Previously he held research positions at University College London, where he was also awarded a PhD in 2007. He completed a BSc in Geography at the University of Manchester, graduating with a First-class honours degree in 2003.
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Cheryl Squire

Cheryl Squire is a Public Health Principal in Leeds Council leading on the adult obesity and healthy living agenda with 15 years experience working in public health for both the NHS and the Local Authority.  Cheryl is part of the project team leading Leeds City Council’s Breakthough project “Reducing health inequalities through supporting healthy lifestyles” which includes the recommissioning of healthy living services that include child and adult weight management, smoking cessation, cooking skills, physical activity and peer led approaches such as Health Trainers.  Cheryl has the responsibility to commission adult weight management services and physical activity opportunities including Leeds Let’s Get Active and the research being delivered through Leeds Beckett University exploring the impact of physical activity on the clustering of lifestyle risk factors. Cheryl is also working with NHS trusts across the city to implement a strategic approach to health coaching which includes training the wider workforce.

Emma Strachan

Emma works in the Public Health Team at Leeds City Council and is responsible for the development and implementation of food and nutrition work. This involves planning, implementation and evaluation of public health work programmes, initiatives and campaigns to address unhealthy eating for adults. Emma is the commissioning manager for Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Leeds which aims to influence changes to food choice to support nutritional behaviour changes via the delivery of a cooking skills programme. Emma has a strong interest in how food and nutrition strategies at an individual and population level can contribute to the healthy weight agenda. Emma has been involved in a number of research studies including the evaluation of the Ministry of Food project, Healthy Literacy research and exploration of how the food environment impacts on obesity prevalence.

Dr Kate Timmins

Kate is a post-doctoral Research Fellow based within the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis at the University of Nottingham. Her primary research interests include: the epidemiology of chronic diseases; health inequalities; and methods used to assess lifestyle variables (diet, physical activity). Kate’s current research is concerned with the burden of osteoarthritis (OA) in England, using spatial microsimulation techniques to describe the prevalence of OA at the small area level.
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Dr Sandy Tubeuf

Dr Sandy Tubeuf is Associate Professor in Health Economics at the University of Leeds. Her research is in the area of applied health econometrics with particular interests in the analysis of health inequalities, inequalities of opportunities in health and the economics of lifestyles. She also designs and delivers the health economic component on several landmark trials conducting evaluations of the cost-effectiveness of health interventions in mental health and musculoskeletal interventions. She has published widely in the academic literature in health economics and applied health research.
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Dr Christina Vogel

Christina Vogel (nee Black) has had a long term interest in understanding what it is that makes people choose to eat the foods they do. She completed undergraduate training in Nutrition and Dietetics and in Psychology at the Newcastle University, Australia. Christina has worked at the Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK, since 2009 and over the past four years has developed a programme of observational research that examined the psychosocial and educational pathways between the local food environment and the dietary behaviours of mothers with young children.
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Dr James Woodcock

James leads the Public Health Modelling Group at CEDAR, MRC Epidemiology Unit. His work focuses on modelling the health impacts of transport and food policies and scenarios. The models they create involve bringing together data from multiple sources to understand how different groups in the population behave and how their behaviour might change under different assumptions.
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Prof Jeremy Wyatt

Jeremy is the Leadership Chair in eHealth Research (Health Informatics) at the University of Leeds.  He trained as a hospital physician in Oxford, London and Glasgow and then in medical informatics at Stanford and London Universities.   His research explores how to design and evaluate complex interventions such as technologies for disseminating evidence (eg decision support), supporting self-care (eg telehealth) and preventing long-term conditions (eg Apps, SMS messages).
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