Food behaviours and public health interventions

The programme and current projects

The food behaviours and public health intervention programme focuses on whether and how we can intervene effectively within food systems to promote healthier diets. We are interested in how food systems influence food consumption, and the extent to which the commercial food market offer can be influenced positively. This poses both methodological (e.g. the role of systems science in understanding the food industry) and empirical challenges (e.g. how to evaluate the impacts of system change). An example of a current project within the programme is a system level evaluation of the UK Treasury Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). In a current PhD within the programme, Kai Schulze is exploring the importance of processed and ultra-processed foods for cardio-metabolic health, and the social, economic and political drivers of processed food production. He is undertaking a systematic review, analysing EuroMonitor country-level data, and undertaking work to define processed food consumption within the EPIC Norfolk cohort study and explore associated outcomes.

PhD student opportunities

We would be keen to receive enquiries from potential applicants interested in undertaking research relevant to the programme, in particular which would focus on revealing the potential of the food industry to influence population health positively through changes in its food market offer. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD with us, please contact Prof Martin White, Martin.White@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk, in the first instance.