UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


NIHR Policy Research Unit: Obesity in Children and Across the Lifecourse

NIHR Obesity Logo
Principal Investigator

Professor Russell Viner (Director),
Professor Andrew Steptoe,
Professor Corinna Hawkes,
Professor Rachel Griffith


Professor Mark Hamer,
Professor Roger Mackett,
Professor Susan Michie,
Professor Lucilla Poston,
Professor James Thomas,
Professor Laura Vaughan

UCL team members

Dr Helen Croker,
Dr Simon Russell,
Jessica Packer,
Dr Andrea Smith,
Dr Clare Llewellyn

Project start and end datesSeptember 2017-September 2022
FunderNIHR Policy Research Programme
Project websitehttps://www.ucl.ac.uk/obesity-policy-research-unit/

Project Aims

Our vision is for a policy research unit in which world-class researchers from a broad range of backgrounds, working with patient / public representatives, use cutting-edge methodologies to provide the evidence needed to help government deploy policy to reduce the prevalence and burden of obesity and its comorbidities across the life-course.
Our core aim is to undertake inter-disciplinary research of the highest quality to support the development, implementation and evaluation of national and local policy to combat obesogenic environments and systems, modify behaviours relevant to obesity, reduce health inequalities and the consequences of obesity across the lifecourse, with a particular focus on children and young people.
Obesity is a systemic and inter-sectoral problem. Policy responses need to be designed to work within the systems within which they will be deployed, and we will plan all our work to include consideration of broader systems and their intersections. Further, we will seek to identify where interventions can be mutually reinforcing and deliver co-benefits within systems.

Project details

Our work is carried out across four workstreams:

  1. Child and adolescent obesity – led by Russell Viner at the Institute for Child Health (UCL)
  2. Environment and behaviour change- led by Andrew Steptoe at the Department of Behavioural Science and Health (UCL)
  3. Economic analysis- led by Rachel Griffith at the Institute for Fiscal Studies
  4. Food systems and policy analysis- led by Corinna Hawkes at the Centre for Food Policy at City University

We are carrying out a wide range of studies, the details are available on our website:

Key Publications

Our publications are available here: