Consumer Data Research Centre

Network Overview

Obesity Network final


Overweight and obesity persist in the UK and place both personal and economic strain on society. The strong association of excess weight with other chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease further increase this burden.

The network brings together experts from all over the UK, and beyond, from a range of disciplines in academia, retail, local government and charities to explore and generate ideas to make best use of the wealth of data to inform positive change.

The datasets include lifestyle and activity statistics, such as the number of gym memberships in an area or proximity to green space; consumer behaviour trends, such as retail data on food purchases; and health data, such as the annual Health Survey for England.

The focus of the network is towards understanding elements of the environment which both promote and discourage the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese with view to positively improve these for a healthier future.


A series of research outputs from the ESRC Strategic Network for Obesity has been published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The ESRC Strategic Network for Obesity: tackling obesity with big data (2018). Morris MA & Birkin M. International Journal of Obesity. 42, p1948–1950 

How has big data contributed to obesity research? A review of the literature (2018). Timmins KA, Green MA, Radley D, Morris MA, Pearce J. 42, p1951-1962 

Can big data solve a big problem? Reporting the obesity data landscape in line with the Foresight obesity system map (2018). Morris MA, Wilkins E, Timmins KA, Bryant M, Birkin M, Griffiths C. International Journal of Obesity. 42, p1963 – 1976

Data visualisation to support obesity policy: case studies of data tools for planning and transport policy in the UK (2018). Monsivais P, Francis O, Lovelace R, Chang M, Strachan E, Burgoine T. International Journal of Obesity. 42, p1977–1986

A Delphi study to build consensus on the definition and use of big data in obesity research (2019). Vogel C, Zwolinsky S, Griffiths C, Hobbs M, Henderson E, Wilkins E. International Journal of Obesity.

Creating a long-term future for big data in obesity research (2019). Birkin M, Wilkins E & Morris MA. International Journal of Obesity.

Obesity Network Meetings

Network Meeting: April 2017
Network Meeting: September 2016 
Network Meeting: May 2016
Network Meeting: March 2016
Network Meeting: November 2015


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