The physical, social and economic world influences what we eat and how much we move around. These dietary and physical activity behaviours have an effect on our health and others around us. They are among the most important risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and mental health disorders.
These behaviours also feed back on the environment. For instance, our transport choices influence greenhouse gas emissions, and our diet choices impact on the sustainability of food production and supply globally.
Our research looks at how the world in which we live shapes our behaviours, and therefore how we might target whole populations and systems to bring about a positive shift in our health. This could include our access to green spaces, how our schools and communities shape our childhoods, the transport we take, or the food choices that are available to us.
These themes of research are principally reflected in the following programmes at the MRC Epidemiology Unit:
- Behavioural Epidemiology and Interventions in Young People’s activity behaviour
- Population Health Interventions (formed from research programmes in Dietary Public Health (2011-2019), and Physical Activity and Public Health (2009-2019).
- Public Health Modelling
Additional insight into diet and physical activity at a population level comes from:
- Nutritional Epidemiology
- Physical Activity Epidemiology
- Innovation in the Measurement of Diet, Physical Activity and Nutrition
Work with us
Researchers in these programmes collaborate across scientific disciplines, as well as with public health organisations, schools, charities and policy bodies to find ways to improve our diets and physical activity.
Find out more about working with us here.