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Healthy Weight Healthy Lives: Independent Expert Advisory Group

  • Last modified date:
    23 November 2009

The Expert Advisory Panel was orginally established to provide the Cross-Government Obesity Unit with expert advice on the evidence that emerged from the Foresight Tackling Obesities: Future Choices project. The group also ensured that Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: a Cross-Government Strategy for England  built on this evidence effectively in the broader context of pragmatic policy making.

Building on this, the group continues to provide advice as policies in the strategy are developed, implemented and evaluated.

Members adhere to the 7 principles of public life and points in code of practice as set out in the Chief Scientific Advisor’s guidelines:

Dr Susan Jebb - Chair

Susan is Head of Nutrition and Health Research at HNR. Susan trained in nutrition and dietetics prior to her PhD at the MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit. Her research focuses on the role of dietary factors in the aetiology and treatment of obesity and its related metabolic diseases. Susan also leads the HNR Communications team who focus on the translation of nutrition science into policy and practice, working with policymakers, industry, health professionals, NGOs and the media across a broad range of activities. Susan is an advisor to government on issues related to obesity and to nutrition.  Currently she is Chair of the cross-government Expert Advisory Group on Obesity and a member of the Change4Life Board. She was an Expert Advisor to the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Review on Food and now sits on the FSA Food Policy Strategy Advisory Group.

Professor Peter Kopelman

Professor Kopelman is Principal of St George’s, University of London and honorary consultant physician to St George’s Hospital, London.

He has been closely involved in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and chaired the Clinical Examining Board of the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK) and the NIHR Academic Careers Panel. He is a member of UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee and Universities UK Health & Social Care Committee.

Professor Kopelman has a long-standing interest in diabetes care, nutrition and obesity with a major research interest in obesity. He has chaired a number of Working Parties on obesity and nutrition for Royal College of Physicians. He is a member of the UK Department of Health and Food Standards Agency Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, DH Expert Panel on Obesity and is Science Advisor to the Office of Science and Innovations Foresight Obesity.

Professor Tim Lang

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University since November 2002. He was Director of the Centre for Food Policy at Thames Valley University from 1994 to 2002, before it moved to City University. He was Director of Parents for Safe Food, 1990-1994 and before that Director of the London Food Commission, 1984 to 1990. In the 1980s, he was a lecturer at Preston and Manchester Polytechnics and from the mid 1970s a hill farmer in Lancashire. In 2006, he was appointed Natural Resources and Land Use Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission. He is a regular advisor / consultant to the World Health Organisation at global and European levels. He has been a special advisor to four House of Commons Select Committee inquiries (food standards [twice], globalisation and obesity). In 2006-07, he was an advisor to the Foresight Obesity programme, and since 2005 has been a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) ‘Food Supply in the 21st Century’ Working Party and team. He has been a consultant on many occasions for the World Health Organisation, also for the European Commission and Food & Agriculture Organisation. In 2005-06, he chaired the Scottish NHS Executive’s Scottish Diet Action Plan Review. He is a Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. In 1999-2005 he was Chair of Sustain, the NGO alliance, of which he was a founder member. He has been a Trustee of Friends of the Earth and was Secretary of the Public Health Alliance, predecessor to the UK Public Health Association.

Professor Jane Wardle

Director: Cancer Research UK, Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health

Dr Geof Rayner

Geof Rayner PhD is professor associate in public health at Brunel University and visiting research fellow at City University. Before becoming a researcher in health care and social policy at University of London Goldsmiths College he was a community development worker.

After leaving full time academic research he became responsible for health development and joint planning between local and health authorities in south London. He was one of the founders, and chair, of the Public Health Alliance, the first chair of the UK Public Health Association and a board member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. He has founded and served upon a number of advocacy and service provision organisations across the health and addictions field, including HIV, drug and alcohol, homelessness, and gambling research bodies. He has served as a consultant to addictions charities, health and local authorities, the European Public Health Alliance, the Department of Health, and the World Health Organisation, most recently in the formulation of the its strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. He is currently engaged on a two-year study for the European Commission on obesity and food governance. Outside the public health field he is a founder, and chair, of the UK's largest independent photography centre, based in London, and director of a farming enterprise in the English Midlands.

Professor Tom Baldwin

Professor of 20th Century Philosophy and Bioethics, University of York

Professor Ken Fox

Professor Ken Fox is a Professor and Research Fellow at the Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol.

Ken has dedicated his career to research and policy development in the field of exercise and health. His books are in exercise and mental health psychology and include `The physical self: From motivation to well-being' and he has developed research instruments to measure physical self-perceptions that are used worldwide.  He was senior scientific editor of the 2004 Chief Medical Officer’s report on physical activity and health and has acted as a special advisor to the Health Select Committee Enquiry on Obesity and served on the panel for the Foresight report on obesity. He has also served on the scientific panel for the three phases of the National Prevention Research Initiative. His current research projects include TREAD which addresses exercise and depression in primary care and OPAL investigating the socio-environmental and psychosocial determinants of activity in older people. He was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Coimbra in Portugal for his contribution to exercise science. Ken has produced over 180 research and professional papers and has been made a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, The Physical Education Association, and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. He is a past physical education teacher, coach and musician and married with two grown up sons.

Professor Klim McPherson

Professor Klim McPherson is the Chair of the National Heart Forum, an alliance of health related NGOs concerned to prevent premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. He has a Visiting Professorship in the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and is a Fellow of New College, Oxford University. His research is in epidemiological methods and women’s’ health. He runs an option in Health & Disease for final year undergraduates in Human Sciences and teaches obstetrics and gynaecology.

His current commitments are; Chair of the NICE CVD Population Program Development Group, Expert Advisory Group on Women’ Heath of MHRA and a past member of the Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee of NICE and their Heavy Menstrual Bleeding guideline development group. He has served as an expert advisor on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. He was Co-Author of the recent Foresight Report on Tackling Obesities - Future Choices with Government Office for Science, for which he was responsible for the epidemiological modelling. He is currently on the expert working group advising the cross government strategy on obesity prevention. He has chaired the British Breast Group, the European Public Health Association and the Society for Social Medicine among other research bodies.

Professor McPherson’s particular interests are coronary heart disease prevention and the causes of breast cancer, particularly the health implications of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). He has some 400 peer reviewed publications in academic journals. He is concerned with public health policy as it affects primary prevention of disease.

Paul Lincoln

Paul Lincoln has worked in public health at local, national and international levels for over 27 years. He is currently Chief Executive of the National Heart Forum, which is an UK alliance of national chronic disease charities, professional, health, social policy and consumer organisations focusing on the primary prevention of coronary heart disease and avoidable linked conditions. He is an adviser to the WHO and other international organisations on public health. He is also and a member of several DH expert public health advisory groups and currently chairs the Healthy Weight: Healthy Lives delivery reference group.  Previously he was a Director at the Health Education Authority and has worked in public health in the NHS and been an educational adviser, teacher and researcher. He was awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Year honours list for services to healthcare.

Dr Harry Rutter

Harry Rutter is a public health consultant based in Oxford, England. He is the director of the National Obesity Observatory for England, and an honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford where he teaches on both climate change and childhood obesity. He is a member of the Department of Health Expert  Panel on obesity, and sat on the project management group of the Foresight Obesities project. He is a founder member of the steering committee of the European Health Enhancing Physical Activity network; helped lead a recent WHO project on economic evaluation of walking and cycling; and is involved in two EU  funded projects on obesity and physical activity. He is a director of the Parliamentary Council on Transport Safety, and sits on the board of transform:MKSM, the Milton Keynes South Midlands Architecture and Built Environment Centre. In addition to his work on obesity he has a broad interest in the relationships between all aspects of transport, sustainability, built environment and health, in particular the health impacts of walking and cycling.

Professor Mary Rudolf

Professor Mary Rudolf is a consultant paediatrician whose area of expertise lies in the epidemiology, treatment and prevention of child obesity. She holds a National Health Service Clinical Excellence Award and is lead investigator on three obesity interventions: WATCH IT, a community intervention for obese children; EMPOWER, an intensive home visiting programme for babies at risk and HENRY - Health, Exercise, Nutrition for the Really Young - a training programme for Sure Start Children’s Centres teams and health professionals. She is author of Tackling obesity in the preschool years: a framework for action to be published on the National Obesity Observatory site later this year.

Mary Rudolf was co-opted by the Department Health to its Expert Advisory Group on Monitoring Childhood Obesity; and by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence to its Guideline Development Group for Obesity. She now is a member of the Expert Group to the Health Child Programme as well as to Healthy Weight Healthy Lives.

Her other major interest is professional education. She developed the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual medical education course for Iraqi paediatricians and is the academic lead for the RCPCH Diploma in Palestinian Child Health. She is the co-author of two paediatric textbooks into their 3rd editions, Tackling Child Obesity with HENRY, the HENRY e-learning course and community paediatric editor of the RCPCH Mastercourse.

Terms of reference

To provide advice and strategic direction to the cross government obesity policy programme on:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of evidence base
  • Emerging ideas, evidence and opportunities with policy implications
  • Specific policy strands
  • Gaps in the overall strategy
  • Obesity Observatory workplan
  • Potential impacts on obesity prevalence and health inequalities
  • To advise on wider process for obtaining expert advice and development of an action learning model for this policy area
  • To help facilitate links to wider academic community and professional networks
  • To review and challenge the work of the Cross-Government Obesity Programme to ensure its scientific validity in the broader policy context
  • To act as a forum for generating and testing new policy ideas against the evidence base.

The group aims to meet quarterly and we plan to review the overall approach after 18 months. Members will serve for a fixed period of approx 18months- 2y after which the membership of group will be refreshed. Individuals will be invited  to participate by the cross-government obesity unit based on their professional standing, direct research experience, breadth of awareness of the obesity evidence base outside of their own field of expertise and awareness and experience of the strategic policy context.

Where appropriate specific time bound working groups will be established which reflect a particular policy need and co-opt specific expertise as required. Depending on the issue, it may also be more appropriate to refer specific technical questions to other advisory structures such as Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

The group held an annual ‘Horizon Scanning Event’ in February 2009, with a wider group of experts from the academic community to enable wider engagement and raise awareness of new research which may be relevant for policy making.

This report is a write up of the event.

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