Speakers: Ending Childhood Obesity - Actions through Health and Food Equity

Tuesday 11 Oct

Speakers in plenum

Gabriel Wikström, Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport, Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

Gabriel WikströmMr Wikström studied political science and economics at Uppsala University, and has pursued the French and Spanish languages in their respective countries. He also has a long and varied background within the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which, following the 2014 general election, now governs Sweden together with the Green Party.

Dr. Corinna Hawkes, Professor, City University of London

Corinna HawkesProfessor Corinna Hawkes is Director of the Centre for Food Policy, City University London.

Her specialty is identifying and analysing food policies and food systems solutions for better eating, nutrition and public health. Between 2012 and 2015 she was Head of Policy and Public Affairs at World Cancer Research Fund International, where she established the NOURISHING Policy Framework for healthy diets and obesity. She sits on the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems and the Lancet Obesity Commission.

Between 2014 and 2016 she participated in one of the two working group supporting the WHO Ending Childhood Obesity Commission. Corinna is also Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, an international report tracking progress in malnutrition in all its forms across the globe.

Dr. Douglas Bettcher, Director, Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO)

Douglas BettcherDr. Douglas William Bettcher is the Director the Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland. He was previously the Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative Department.

He has a multidisciplinary background and holds a PhD in International Relations and a Graduate Diploma in World Politics, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science; a Master’s of Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Alberta, Canada.

Dr Bettcher is responsible for coordinating WHO’s work for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases. Dr Bettcher’s current portfolio includes oversight for WHO’s work on NCD risk factor prevention (including tobacco use, diet and physical inactivity), prevention of childhood obesity, health promotion, and NCD risk factor surveillance.

Dr. Boyd Swinburn, Professor, University of Auckland

Boyd SwinburnBoyd Swinburn, MBChB, MD, FRACP, FNZCPHM, is the Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and Alfred Deakin Professor and Co-Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne. He is also Co-Chair of World Obesity Policy & Prevention section (formerly International Obesity Task Force).

He trained as an endocrinologist and has conducted research in metabolic, clinical and public health aspects of obesity. His major research interests are centred on community and policy actions to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity, and reduce, what he has coined, ‘obesogenic’ environments. He is currently leading an initiative (www.informas.org) to monitor and benchmark food environments internationally.

Dr. Lisa M. Powell, Distinguished Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health (also presents in workshop on policy tools for change)

Lisa PowellLisa M. Powell, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor and Director in the Division of Health Policy and Administration in the School of Public Health and Director of the Illinois Prevention Research Center in the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Powell has extensive experience as an applied micro-economist in the empirical analysis of the effects of public policy on a series of behavioral outcomes.

Much of her current research is on assessing the importance of economic and environmental factors (such as food prices, sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes; access to food stores, fast-food restaurants, other eating places, and facilities for physical activity; and, television food advertising exposure) on food consumption and physical activity behaviors and as determinants of obesity, including related disparities. Her work has contributed to the policy debates on SSB taxes and child-directed marketing in the U.S.

Mr Alejandro Calvillo, Director General, El Poder del Consumidor, Mexico

Alejandro Cavillo Unna – General Director, El Poder del Consumidor. Alejandro was a founding member of Greenpeace Mexico where he collaborated for 12 years, including a 5 year period as Executive Director, before founding the consumer rights organization El Poder del Consumidor in 2006.

In his work at El Poder del Consumidor he has been designing and coordinated studies and public awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns on the impact of child targeted marketing, school food policy, a soda tax and effective front-of-package labeling on public nutrition and health, particularly children’s, and the study of the causes and effects of the obesity and overweight epidemic in Mexico.

Alejandro Calvillo, with El Poder del Consumidor, has been a central actor from the civil society to obtain a soda tax, to have a mandatory regulation in food and beverage inside schools and for the implementation of a regulation aimed to children implemented in Mexico.

Dr Julie S. Downs - Director, Carnegie Mellon University (also presents in workshop on policy tools to drive change)

Julie S. DownsJulie S. Downs, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Risk Perception and Communication, and Associate Professor in the department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Downs received her Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University, and her B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Her research has been published in psychological, public policy, economic, engineering, and medical journals.

Shawn T. Brown; Director, GOPC, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins

Shawn BrownDr. Shawn T. Brown, PhD. is the Director of Public Health Applications at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at Carnegie Mellon University and is the Director of Computational Research for the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Brown is an expert in systems science approaches and simulation modeling and manages the software development of the Virtual Populations for Obesity Prevention (VPOP). His research interests also include developing models to mitigate disease spread through populations and healthcare ecosystems; supply chain modeling for to ensure delivery on needed vaccines, health food, and other public health commodities in low- and middle-income countries; and development of computational infrastructure for public health decision support.

Wednesday 12 Oct

Speakers in plenum

Dr Stefan Swartling Peterson

Stefan Swartling PetersonStefan is Chief of the health section for UNICEF globally, based in New York. He is a Professor at Uppsala University and, prior to that, at the Global Health Division of Karolinska Institute. He has also been visiting professor at Makerere University in Uganda.  As a health systems researcher and medical doctor, he has done extensive field work in Tanzania and Uganda, and has worked with different ministries of health, organizations such as WHO, and implemented projects supported by Sida, the Gates Foundation, and the European Union. He was also a co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres Sweden and the CCM Task Force Operations Research Group.

Stefan is a Swedish national, a medical doctor with degrees in medicine, Public Health and a PHD in International Pediatrics. 

Dr. Claude Marcus, Professor, Karolinska Institutet

Claude MarcusDr Claude Marcus is professor and head of the division of Pediatrics at CLINTEC department, Karolinska Institutet. Dr Marcus is specialized in pediatric endocrinology, founder and scientific leader of the Swedish National Childhood Obesity Centre. Dr Marcus is also Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Swedish BDD study, aimed to clarify the interactions between type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and MODY. He is leader of the research groups working within the frames of STOPP, Stockholm Obesity Prevention Project.

Dr Marcus has published more than 200 articles in international journals primarily about adipocyte physiology, clinical endocrinology/diabetology, obesity genetics, physical activity and obesity treatment/prevention. He has run several large clinical trials within the fields of endocrinology and obesity.

Among other assignments, he is founder and registry holder of the Swedish Quality Registry for Childhood Obesity Treatment, BORIS, and chairman of Swedish Childhood Obesity Society.  


Dr. Frank Bloomfield - Professor, Liggins Institute, Auckland University

Frank BloomfieldFrank Bloomfield is Director of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland and Professor of Neonatology.  He trained in Manchester, Auckland and Toronto in both clinical neonatology and experimental science investigating the role of maternal, fetal and neonatal nutrition on growth and development.  Frank is the immediate past president of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand and a council member of the Perinatal Research Society (USA). He serves on several Ministry of Health committees, including the National Maternity Monitoring Group.

Celina Gorre, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

Celina GorreCelina is the Executive Director of the GACD. Previously, Celina was the Managing Director of the Foundation for the UN Global Compact leading the the overall development and management of the New York-based 501(c)3 non-profit.

Celina was the Technical Manager for the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (now GBCHealth), where she consulted to companies such as Nike, Volkswagen, Colgate, American Express, and Chevron, on programmes for employees, consumers, and communities. Celina also led global training for Gap Inc.'s Social Responsibility, on social and environmental audits in factories and develop stakeholder partnerships.

Celina holds a MPH from UCLA and an MPA from Harvard.

Dr. Maria Eugenia Bonilla Chacín - Senior Economist, Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, World Bank

Maria Bonilla ChacinMaría Eugenia Bonilla-Chacín is a Senior Economist working on the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice of the World Bank Group.  Currently her work focuses mainly in Latin America and the Caribbean region. She is currently initiating a global study on obesity.  She has worked in health and development issues in different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Africa. She has led several operational activities and research on health financing, health service delivery and more recently on the promotion of healthy living.  She has a PhD in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Garrath D. Williams Senior Lecturer, University of Lancaster (also presents in workshop on individual and societal responsibilities)

Garrath D. WilliamsI am Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Lancaster University. My research interests fall across ethics, political theory and applied ethics. One of my main interests, in all three of these areas, is responsibility – both conceptually and in terms of its practical and organisational aspects. In applied ethics, I am involved in collaborative research on children, health and public policy. I lead the ethics and policy strand of the EU-funded I.Family study (www.ifamilystudy.eu), which investigates diet and health-related behaviours in a large cohort of families across Europe. I was also co-author of Childhood Obesity: Ethical and Policy Issues (with Kristin Voigt and Stuart Nicholls; Oxford University Press, 2014).

Workshop presenters



Dr. Lisa M. Powell, Distinguished Professor and Director, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health (speaker in plenum)

Dr. Julie S. Downs - Director, Carnegie Mellon University (speaker in plenum)

Kaisa KotakorpiDr. Kaisa Kotakorpi is Professor of Economics at the University of Turku, Finland. She also holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and has spent one academic year as Marie Curie Fellow at the London School of Economics (2004-5). Her main research interests are in public economics, in particular the applications of behavioural economics to tax policy, political economy and health economics. Her work has been published in journals such as Journal of Public Economics, European Economic Review and Scandinavian Journal of Economics. She is a member of the Finnish Economic Policy Council and Fellow at the CESifo research network.



Evelyn CraytonDr. Evelyn Crayton, Professor emeritus at Auborn University, Past President, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Her area of specialty is Nutrition Education for the public. She is a frequently requested speaker on topics related to nutrition and health literacy. During her 40 year tenure, she developed many Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program publications (EFNEP), several curricula and training programs for this community-based self-help program. 

She served as Chair of the Nutrition Education for the Public and is a member of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetics Practice Groups.  She is a member of the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition and is a Past President of the Alabama Dietetic Association and the Tuskegee District Dietetics Association.

Dr. Leps Malete is Associate Professor of sport and Leps Maleteexercise psychology at Michigan State University.  Until recently, he was Associate Professor and Director of International Education and Partnerships at the University of Botswana. His teaching and research interests are on international dimensions of youth psychosocial development through sport and physical activity, self-efficacy and athletic performance as well as physical activity, nutrition and childhood obesity.

Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr. is Professor and Tyson Endowed Chair in FooNaygad Policy Economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at University of Arkansas. Dr. Nayga’s research interests include the economics of food consumption, policy, and health. He has focused his work on critical issues such as poverty, nutrition, obesity, and novel food technologies. Prior to joining the University of Arkansas, he was a professor at Texas A&M University for 12 years.



Susanne BryngelssonSusanne Bryngelsson, is the managing director of Swedish Nutrition Foundation (SNF). She has a background in food science and nutrition and a PhD in food science from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala (2002). She has been working actively within the field of health claims since 2003, with experiences from the unique
Swedish Code of conduct on health claims (1990-2007). She is editor in-chief of the journal Nordisk Nutrition and the webb portal nutritionsfakta.se, published by SNF.

Cecilia Mandrup, Campaign Consultant,The Danish Whole GrainCecilia Mandrup Partnership, Cecilia has worked with advertising, execution of campaigns as well as research and pre-testing of campaigns. Her research fields include motivation, reasoning, cognitive biases and decision-making, specifically in a context of commercial communication. As a campaign consultant at The Danish Whole Grain Partnership she is responsible for digital communication and head of a stakeholder group.

Healthy Eating for School Children



Dr Kristiina Janhonen (nee Kainulainen),is a postdoctoral researcher working at the University of Helsinki, Department of Teacher Education. She received her Doctorate in Education in 2016 from the University of Helsinki. Her interdisciplinary research interests include adolescents’ food-related learning at the intersection of informal and institutional contexts; understanding young people’s food practices through qualitative and quantitative methods; development of participatory research; and school meals.

Hanna SeppDr Hanna Sepp is a senior lecturer in Food and Meal science at Kristianstad University, Sweden. She has a background in Food and Nutrition (PhD in Domestic Sciences from Uppsala University 2002). Her research interest focuses on meal education in the preschool and the integration of food and meals in the pedagogic activities. By developing educational games and teaching materials with the aim of creating good food habits for young children, she has conveyed research into innovation.

Dr Sidiga Washi, Chair, World Public Health Nutrition Association

Iveta PuduleDr Iveta Pudule, Senior Public Health Analyst, Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Latvia is a medical doctor who has gained an MSc in Health Promotion from the University of Bergen in Norway. She has extensive experience in epidemiology and public health research.

Dr Pudele is currently Senior Public Health Analyst at the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Latvia. She is currently a member of the board of the Public Health Association of Latvia where she brings together major stakeholders to collaborate on work in nutrition; this is of particular interest to her as she is a member of National Nutrition Board and also a member of National Food Council. Iveta is also a principal investigator for WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) and Health Behaviour Survey of School Aged Children (HBSC) in Latvia



Dr Signild Vallgårda is a historian and professor of health policy analysis, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen. Her current research focuses on power and ethical perspectives of obesity policies and the role of social categories in policies related to and research on social inequalities in health.

Dr Garrath D. Williams Senior Lecturer, University of Lancaster (Speaker in plenum)



Louise Ungerth, is an agriculture engineer and Head of Consumer & Environmental Affairs at The Stockholm Consumer Cooperative Society (SCCS), a cooperative member organization. One aim is to influence government,  authorities, politicians, Co-op and the private sector on various retail-related consumer and environmental issues on behalf of 760 000 members in the Stockholm area. Louise is member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and participates in many working groups for universities, authorities, organisations and industries.

Dr Lucia Reisch is professor for consumer behaviour and Lucia Reischconsumer policy at Copenhagen Business School. As a behavioural economist and consumer researcher, her main research focus is on sustainable consumption, consumer and sustainability policy, behavioural regulation and corporate sustainability. Besides running several EU-research projects, she is engaged in high-level policy consulting. For instance, she is chairing the Council of Advisors on Consumer Issues (Sachverständigenrat Verbraucherfragen), long-standing member of the German Council of Sustainable Development and the Bioeconomy Council, all consulting the German government.



Dr Frank Bloomfield, Director of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland (also speaks in plenum).

Loretta WarnakulasuriyaDr Loretta Warnakulasuriya is a medical doctor from Negombo, Sri Lanka where she works at the District Hospital of Negombo and runs her own medical clinic. During her spare time she is a dedicated member of Lions Club Negombo. Dr Loretta is the Principal Investigator and project coordinator for Lions project for obesity among 14 000 school children in Negombo (managed by Lions MD 101 Sweden and funded by Världens Barn, Sweden). This project is carried out in collaboration of Prof Pujitha Wickramasinghe, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, and University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.



Pilvikki AbsetzDr Pilvikki Absetz, Research Director (University of Eastern Finland, UEF), Adjunct Professor of Health Promotion (University of Tampere, UTA), CEO (Collaborative Care Systems Finland, CCSF)). Pilvikki is a behavioral scientist with a PhD in psychology (health), and a leading expert in disease prevention and health promotion by lifestyle change. As a PI/CI/AI of several behavioral interventions, she has over 15 years of experience in disseminating and implementing evidence into practice in different “real world” settings in Finland as well as internationally. Her research covers type 2 diabetes prevention, self-management of NCD’s, and promotion of healthy lifestyle among both young and elderly people in Finland, Australia, India, South Africa, Sweden, and Uganda.

Michael QuarshieMichael Quarshie, CEO and Co-Founder (Wellness Foundry). Mr Quarshie has spearheaded several collaborations that have integrated mobile technology and nutrition with clients ranging from insurance carriers and health care providers to research universities and professional sports organizations. One of his main areas of focus over the past 5 years has been on developing scalable intervention models that combine mobile technology with professional coaching in one-on-one and group settings. Before co-founding Wellness Foundry, Michael was a professional athlete with the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University.

Last modified: 2022-05-17