I am a nutrition scientist and my research interests are focused on how what we eat affects the risk of gaining weight or becoming obese and the interventions that might be effective to help people lose weight or reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases. I have also conducted a series of randomised controlled trials to study the impact of dietary changes on the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In general, this work highlights that body weight is a more important risk factor for ill-health than differences in the nutritional composition of the diet. I have strong scientific collaborations with the Behaviour and Health Research unit at the University of Cambridge and the MRC Human Nutrition Research unit, where I was a Programme Leader for many years.
I am also very interested in how scientific evidence on diet is translated into policy and practice, by government, industry, the public health community and the media. I was the science advisor for the Foresight obesity report and subsequently chaired the cross-government Expert Advisory Group on obesity and the Responsibility Deal Food Network. I am now a member of the Public Health England Obesity Programme Board and one of the Chairs of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committees. I am actively involved in a number of events and media projects to engage the public in issues relating to diet and health. In 2008 I was awarded an OBE for services to public health.