UCL News


UCL obesity public seminar

26 June 2008


waistline ucl.ac.uk/iish/" target="_self">UCL International Institute for Society & Health
  • Past seminars
  • UCL News obesity feature
  • On 1 July, the UCL International Institute for Society & Health is holding a panel discussion on the social causes of obesity.

    In recent years the debate on overweight and obesity has focused on societal causes, as the link between socioeconomic disadvantage and weight gain has been identified. To reverse the upward trend in weight problems, it is now understood that interventions will be needed at several levels. This means that 'obesogenic' environments (which lead to obesity) need to be changed to 'leptogenic' environments (where weight loss is aided). However, as food becomes scarcer and incomes become more unequal, the ready availability of cheap energy-dense food provides an attractive option for poorer people - a situation which is likely to fuel the problem of obesity rather than help solve it.

    The seminar, 'Obesity and inequality: what hope for change?', will address four key areas: the effectiveness of weight loss interventions; the structural and cultural causes of obesity; childhood obesity and UK policy responses; and emerging EU policy on obesity and inequalities in obesity.

    Chairing the session will be Eric Brunner, Reader at UCL Epidemiology & Public Health. Mr Brunner is also co-director of the UCL Health & Society Summer School, and the seminar forms part of this year's summer school.

    The panel members are: Helen Croker, a research dietician at the UCL Health Behaviour Research Centre and member of the clinical guidance group for the obesity guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; Professor Tim Lang (City University), advisor to the Foresight Obesity Programme and a member of the Sustainable Development Commission; Tim Lobstein, director of the International Association for the Study of Obesity child obesity programme and leader of POLMARK, a European Commission-funded project looking at the marketing of food to children; and Professor Martin McKee (London School of Health and Tropical Medicine), research director  of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

    The seminar will be held in the UCL Old Refectory from 5-6.30pm. It is free, but space will be limited so attendees are advised to arrive early.

    To find out more, follow the links at the top of this item.