Petya Atanasova

Thesis Title:

The determinants of nutritional choices and obesity & behavioural interventions for food behavior change


The greatest strain on public health is the continued increase in noncommunicable diseases (NDCs), which account for more than 70% of all deaths globally and have increased more than 20% from 2009 to 2019.The leading risk factor contributing to NCDs deaths is poor diet, particularly one characterized by low consumption of fruit and whole grains, and high consumption of sodium. Therefore, improving nutrition is essential to address the rising NCDs rates and their associated chronic health conditions such as overweight and obesity. Evidence in the past decade has indicated that 83.6% of NCDs mortality is caused by exposure to factors in individuals’ environments suggesting that the creation of health-enabling environments is the most promising strategy for population-wide improvements in nutritional and body weight status. Prevention of NCDs is easier and more cost-effective than treatment especially in countries that are already struggling to finance healthcare services. A key challenge in the creation of healthy food environments is the lack of understanding of the complexity of factors within the food environment that shape individual’s behaviours. The purpose of this research is to capture and develop an understanding of the multilevel determinants of food related behaviours and obesity related outcomes and design, implement, and evaluate behavioural interventions that promote healthy food environments in the context of low and middle income countries.

First Supervisor:

Professor Gary Frost


Pathway 1: Health Practices, Innovation & Implementation