Dr Pablo Monsivais

Senior University Lecturer  

Programme lead – Social, Economic and Neighbourhood Determinants of Diet

Email: pm491@medschl.cam.ac.uk
Telephone: 01223 746 883


UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science
Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Cambridge, CB2 0QQ

Ph.D., M.P.H. University of Washington, Seattle

Background and experience
From physiology to public policy, many factors influence how we eat and, consequently, our weight and health. My research is focused on the social and economic determinants of food choices, diet quality and health. My previous projects have explored the economics of nutrition, with an emphasis on developing quantitative, survey-based methods to measure the affordability of a healthful diet.

Current work and interests
At CEDAR, I am initiating new studies in two areas. First, in the area of health inequalities, I am investigating the mechanisms that give rise to social patterning and socioeconomic gradients in diet quality.  Of particular interest are the social and economic pathways that couple low socioeconomic status with poor diet.  Food costs, the money available to purchase food and neighourhood patterns of food availability are some of the factors being investigated.  A second area of my research is in measuring the effects of nutrition and public health programmes and interventions on food consumption and the nutritional quality of the diet.  This work also extends to the use of modeling and other analytical approaches to identify cost-sensitive ways of improving nutrition at the population level.

Professional memberships and roles

  • Member, American Public Health Association
  • Member, American Society for Nutrition
  • Member, Washington State Food and Nutrition Council
  • Member, (Euro/UK societies TBD)

Peer-reviewed publications

Book chapters:

  1. (2012) Drewnowski A, Monsivais P.  Taste and Food Choices. In: In: Erdman JW, MacDonald I and Zeisel S, editors. Present Knowledge in Nutrition, 10th Edition,
  2. (2010) Darmon N, Monsivais P. Economic influences on food behavior. In: Colby S, ed. Food Behavior, Why we eat what we eat. 2nd edition, Kendal Hunt Publishing

Current and previous grants

  • (2015-6) Using big data to tackle obesity. Economic and Social Research Council  (Co-Investigator)
  • (2015) FEAT: a web-based Food Environment Assessment Tool for public health policy and planning. Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account  (Principal investigator)
  • (2015-2016) A new framework for developing effective, equitable and legally-compliant financial instruments for promoting healthier diets in the UK. Funded by the Isaac Newton Trust (Co-investigator)
  • (2013-2016) Determinants of Diet and Activity Research (DEDIPAC), a European research project in the Joint Programming Initiative.  Funded by the Medical Research Council (Principal investigator)
  • (2011) Nutritional and monetary impact analysis of replacing whole milk and fruit juice in the diets of children in the US. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Eating Research program. (Principal investigator)
  • (2010) Analysis of policies and best practices for nutrition and physical activity in child care.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative. (Co-Investigator)
  • (2010-2012) Accounting for the social gradient in diet quality and health. NIDDK. (Co-Investigator)

Organisational affiliation
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge