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The Big Question: What is really to blame for the obesity epidemic?



There is no denying that our collective waistline is growing – the UK has the highest obesity rates in Europe, set to grow to 50% of the population by 2050 and costing billions to the economy. Closer to home, Hillingdon was called out as the fattest borough in London in 2014. New diets and exercise regimes appear to work but still we are getting bigger. So what are we doing wrong? Or is this beyond our control? Scientists have been warning us of the possible effect of chemicals in our environment, what impact they have on our hormones, development of diseases like cancer but what if they are also changing how we process the food we eat?

About the Speaker

For our next 50th anniversary event, join award-winning journalist and broadcaster Helen Briggs as she chairs a discussion on the true causes and solutions to this crisis. -         


  • Professor Gerard Hastings, the first UK Professor of Social Marketing and founder/director of the Institute for Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Stirling and the Open University
  • Brunel’s Professor Juliette Legler whose research includes early life stage exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, and the development of obesity later in life
  • Professor Jonathan Seckl, A clinical endocrinologist and former Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Professor Seckl’s research focuses on glucocorticoid biology from ‘cloning to clinic’.  
  • Professor Sir Stephen Bloom FRS, from Imperial College London, the Head of Division for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Chair of the academic Section of Endocrinology and Investigative Medicine at Imperial College London and Lead Clinician for Clinical Chemistry at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.