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The British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, based in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, has been officially designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.

The new centre will be known as the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention. The launch of this centre will be held on the Monday the 28th of April from 10.00 am to 12.00 at the Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus in Oxford.

The overall aim of the centre is to carry out research of the highest methodological quality that has the greatest possible influence on public health policy and practice, as it relates to the primary prevention of non-communicable disease (NCD).

The centre has five main research themes. They are:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Cardiovascular disease epidemiology

As a WHO Collaborating Centre it will be:

  • Working with WHO in capacity building for population level approaches for NCD prevention
  • Contributing to WHO's work in the development of guidelines/manuals on population level NCD prevention.
  • Assisting WHO to develop methods for evaluating population level NCD prevention programmes including training programmes.
  • Providing WHO with statistical analysis and systematic reviews related to population level NCD prevention.

The United Nations meeting of the on the prevention and control of NCDs in September 2011 has resulted in a greater focus on population approaches to prevent NCDs, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

Many countries are now considering and implementing population approaches to NCD prevention which include measures such as taxes on tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy foods, , bans on the advertising  of such products, providing better information about unhealthy products, and the provision of better facilities for active travel and recreation involving physical activity.

Evidence on the effectiveness of population approaches to NCD prevention is vitally important to make inform governments and other policy makers concerned about the rising burden of NCDs. This new centre will play a leading role in providing such evidence and help to build the capacity locally and internationally for population approaches for NCD prevention., 

For enquiries relating to the WHO Collaborating Centre’s activities please contact:

Dr Mike Rayner (mike.rayner@dph.ox.ac.uk) or Dr Kremlin Wickramasinghe (kremlin.wickramasinghe@dph.ox.ac.uk)