Boyd Swinburn is the Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland and Alfred Deakin Professor and Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Melbourne. He trained as a specialist 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, the ‘obesogenic’ food environment.
He is Co-Chair of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and was President of the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) from 2005-7. He has also contributed to over 30 WHO consultations and reports on obesity, authored over 300 publications and given over 400 presentations. Through these efforts he is significantly contributing to national and global efforts to reduce the obesity epidemic.
Current research projects
INFORMAS – International Network for Food and Obesity/NCD Research, Monitoring, and Action Support.
This is a newly-established network aimed at ‘Benchmarking Food Environments for Health’.
Publications in 2012
- Kraak VI, Harrigan P, Lawrence M, Harrison P, Jackson M, Swinburn B. Balancing the benefits and risks of public-private partnerships to address the global double burden of malnutrition. Pub Health Nutr 2012; 15(3):503-517
- Egger G, Swinburn B, Islam A. Economic growth and obesity: An interesting relationship with world-wide implications. Econ Hum Biol 2012 Mar; 10(2):147-53
- de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Bell AC, Kremer P, Park J, Demajo L, Smith M, Sharp S, Nichols M, Carpenter L, Boak R, Swinburn B. Process and impact evaluation of the Romp & Chomp obesity prevention intervention in early childhood settings: lessons learned from implementation in preschools and long day care settings. Childhood Obesity 2012;8(3):205-215
- Shill J, Mavoa H, Allender S, Lawrence M, Sacks G, Peeters A, Crammond B, Swinburn B. Government regulation to promote healthy food environments – a view from inside state governments. Obes Rev 2012; 13(2):162-173
- Lacy K, Kremer P, de Silva-Sanigorski A, Allender S, Leslie E, Jones L, Swinburn B. The appropriateness of opt-out consent for monitoring childhood obesity in Australia. Ped Obesity 2012;7(5):e62-e67
- Delavari M, Farrelly A, Renzaho A, Mellor D, Swinburn B. Experiences of migration and the determinants of obesity among recent Iranian immigrants in Victoria, Australia. Ethn Health 2012; 1-17
- Shill J, Mavoa H, Crammond B, Loff B, Peeters A, Lawrence M, Allender S, Sacks G, Swinburn BA. Regulation to Create Environments Conducive to Physical Activity: Understanding the Barriers and Facilitators at the Australian State Government Level. PLoS One 2012; 7(9):e42831
- Crammond B, Loff B, Van C, Shill J, Mavoa H, Swinburn B, Allender S, Sacks G, Lawrence M, Peeters A. The possibility of regulating for obesity prevention – Understanding regulation in the Commonwealth Government. Obes Rev 2012 (in press)
- Wang Jensen B, Nichols M, Allender S, de Silva-Sanigorski A, Millar L, Kremer P, Lacy K, Swinburn B. Consumption patterns of sweet drinks in a population of Australian children and adolescents. BMC Public Health 2012;12(1):771
- McCabe MP, Waqa G, Dev A, Cama T, Swinburn BA. The role of cultural values and religion on views of body size and eating practices among adolescents from Fiji, Tonga, and Australia. Br J Health Psychol 27 Sep 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8287.2012.02090.x.
- Mellor D, Renzaho A, Swinburn B, Green J, Richardson B. Aspects of parenting and family functioning associated with obesity in adolescent refugees and migrants from African backgrounds living in Australia. Aust N Z J Public Health. 36(4):317-324
- Mavoa HM, Waqa G, Moodie M, Kremer P, McCabe M, Snowdon W, Swinburn B. Knowledge Exchange in the Pacific: The TROPIC (Translational Research into Obesity-prevention Policies for Communities) project. BMC Public Health. 2012; 12:552
- Petersen S, Mavoa H, Swinburn B, Waqa G, Goundar R, Moodie M. Health-Related Quality of Life is low in secondary school children in Fiji. Int J Pediatr. 2012; Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 294530
- Lal A, Moodie M, Ashton T, Siahpush M, Swinburn BA. Health care and lost productivity costs of overweight and obesity in New Zealand. Aust NZ J Public Health 2012; 36(5) 550-556.
- Lacy K, Kremer P, de Silva-Sanigorski A, Allender S, Leslie E, Jones L, Swinburn B. The appropriateness of opt-out consent for monitoring childhood obesity in Australia. Pediatr Obes 2012;7(5):e62-e67
- Kremer PJ, de Silva-Sanigorski A, Bell C, Swinburn BA. School and Neighborhood Settings Support Physical Activity in Australian Primary School Children. J Obesity 2012 (in press)
- Johnson BA, Kremer P, Swinburn BA, de Silva-Sanigorski AM. Importance of the household environment in a community-based childhood obesity intervention: a multilevel analysis of the Be Active Eat Well project. Int J Obesity 2012 (in press)
- Snowdon W, Malakellis M, Millar L, Swinburn B. Ability of Body Mass Index and Waist circumference to identify risk factors for Non-communicable Disease in the Pacific Islands. Obes Res Clin Prac 2012 (in press) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orcp.2012.06.005
- Keating C, Moodie M, Peeters A, Stevenson C, Bulfone L, Swinburn B. Healthcare utilisation and costs in severely obese subjects before bariatric surgery. Obesity 2012 (in press) DOI: 10.1038/oby.2012.124
- Egger G, Swinburn B. Prevention in adults. In: Handbook of Obesity. Bray GA, Bouchard C editors. Marcel Dekker (in press)
- Swinburn BA. Nutrition signposting: the ‘eat more’ message seems to be getting through: what about the ‘eat less’ message? Publ Health Nutr 2012; 15(3):483-485
- Swinburn B. Government and obesity: the Australian example. World Nutr 2012;3(8) August
- Beran D, Capewell S, de Courten M, Gale E, Gill G, Husseini A, Keen H, Motala A, O’Flaherty M, Ramachandran A, Swinburn B, Tesfaye S, Uniwin N, Wild S, Yudkin JS. The International Diabetes Federation: losing credibility by partnering with Nestle? The Lancet 2012;380:805
- Kraak VI, Story M, Swinburn BA. Addressing barriers to improve children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012. (in press)
- Keast RS, Sayompark D, Sacks G, Swinburn BA and Riddell LJ. Reply to Celec. Eur J Clin Nutr. 15 February 2012
- Shill J, Sacks G, Snowdon W, Swinburn B, Armstrong T, Irwin R, Randby S, Xuereb G. Prioritizing areas for action in the field of population-based prevention of childhood obesity: a set of tools for member states to determine and identify priority areas for action. World Health Organisation, ISBN 978 92 4 150327 3, Geneva 2012
Ten most influential publicationsConcept papers:
These 2 papers established the concept of ‘obesogenic’ environments. The term was coined and obesity was clearly placed in an ecological context of environmental influences [paper 1]. ‘Obesogenic’ is now a standard dictionary term. The nature of the obesogenic environments was then placed into a framework (called ANGELO) of 4 different types and 2 different sizes of environments . ANGELO has been widely used globally for 10 years as a robust analytical framework for identifying determinants and solutions.
- Egger G, Swinburn B. An ‘ecological’ approach to the obesity pandemic. BMJ 1997; 315:477-480
- Swinburn B, Egger GJ, Raza F. Dissecting obesogenic environments: The development and application of a framework for identifying and prioritising environmental interventions for obesity. Prev Med 1999; 29:563-570
Evidence papers for major WHO documents:
These papers were central for two fundamental pieces of WHO work. The obesity component of a WHO consultation  was a major part of the landmark WHO Report 916 on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases which provided the evidence for WHO’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The paper on body mass index definitions  contained the core concepts, which I helped to develop, of the sliding scale of BMI and disease risk for different ethnic groups.
- Swinburn B, Caterson I, Seidell J, James WPT. Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of excess weight gain and obesity. Public Health Nutr 2004; 1(1A):123-146
- WHO Expert Consultation. Appropriate body mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies: Report of a WHO Expert Consultation. Lancet 2004; 363 157-63
Major data outcome papers:
These papers clearly demonstrated that long-term, whole-of-community interventions can significantly reduce overweight and obesity in children , pre-schoolers  and adolescents . For the first time, community capacity building approaches are shown to work for obesity prevention.
- Sanigorski A, Bell C, Kremer P, Cuttler R, Swinburn B. Reducing unhealthy weight gain in children through community capacity-building: results of a quasi-experimental intervention program, Be Active Eat Well. Int J Obes 2008; 32(7): 1060-7
- de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Bell AC, Kremer P, Nichols M, Crellin M, Smith M, Sharp S, de Groot F, Carpenter L, Boak R, Robertson N, Swinburn BA. Reducing obesity in early childhood: Results from Romp & Chomp, an Australian community-wide intervention program. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91:831-840
- Millar L, Kremer P, de Silva-Sanigorski A, McCabe M, Mavoa H, Moodie M, Utter J, Bell C, Malakellis M, Mathews L, Roberts G, Robertson N, Swinburn B. Reduction in overweight and obesity from a 3 year community-based intervention in Australia: the ‘It’s Your Move!’ Project. Obes Rev 2011; 12(suppl 1):20-28
Modeling the obesity epidemic:
This paper is one of 3 in AJCN which used mathematical modeling to predict changes in population weight gain for children and adults. In this paper , the evidence is given to show that it is increases in food energy supply and energy intake which are driving the obesity epidemic.
- Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Ravussin E. Increased food energy supply is more than sufficient to explain the US epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 90(6):1453-1456
The book on childhood obesity  is the most comprehensive (70 authors from 15 countries) to date on preventing childhood obesity. It takes a strong evidence-informed practice and practice-informed evidence approach for solutions from the community to the global levels. The overview of the obesity pandemic  was the lead paper in the 2011 Lancet Obesity Series published just before the UN High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases. It pointed to global changes in food supply moderated by local environmental conditions as the major explanations for the patterns seen in the pandemic. It also introduced novel concepts such as the Flipping Point as the inflection in energy balance at the onset of the epidemic.
- Waters E, Swinburn BA, Uauy R, Seidell J, editors. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Evidence, Policy and Practice. Wiley Blackwell, Oxford, 2010
- Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, McPherson K, Finegood DT, Moodie ML, Gortmaker S. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011; 378:804-814